Monthly Archives: June 2011

Flypaper Textures – another great texture blog

 

I love this site! They have great textures and great posts. Super stuff for creating painterly effects. The author is also very generous in providing great recipes for producing the desired effects with step-by-step instruction for Photoshop. Visit Flypaper Textures and show some love by ‘liking” them in Facebook!

 

Topaz Labs Plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom – wow!

 

If you haven’t checked out the incredible plugins by Topaz Labs, you need to do so ASAP! Here is desciption of the bundle which sells for great price of $249. Once you seewhat these plugins can do, the proce will seem like a real bargain:

  • Simulate lenses, filters & specialty cameras withTopaz Lens Effects
  • Make your exposure, detail, and color pop with Topaz Adjust
  • Create a variety of stunning painterly art effects with Topaz Simplify
  • Get halo- and artifact-free detail enhancement with Topaz Detail
  • Eliminate noise while preserving detail with Topaz DeNoise
  • Quickly and efficiently mask and extract photos with Topaz ReMask
  • Sharpen and restore image clarity with Topaz InFocus
  • Control portrait smoothing and stylized edges with Topaz Clean
  • Fix JPEG artifacts and optimize web photos with Topaz DeJPEG

My personal favorite is Topaz Adjust, which is best described as HDR gone wild. You can use it 100 different ways and never get the same results twice! Here’s how to do “easyHDR” with Topaz Adjust 4:

If you are a lightroom user instead of Photoshop, you can also use Topaz Fusion Express to use the bundle in Lightroom. Check out the complete bundle at  http://www.topazlabs.com/

Nik Software – The Complete Collection

On the way…Looking forward to the arrival of the Ultimate Complete Collection which I just bought online. I am floored by the quality of this plugin package, which includes Dfine® 2.0, Viveza® 2, HDR Efex Pro™, Color Efex Pro™ 3.0, Silver Efex Pro™ 2, and Sharpener Pro™ 3.0.

Dfine 2.0
Best-in-class noise reduction to improve the quality of virtually every photo. Features new U Point technology for unprecedented selective control.

Viveza 2
Powered by U Point® technology, Viveza 2 is the most powerful and precise tool available to globally or selectively control light and color in photographs without the need to create complicated selections or layer masks.

HDR Efex Pro
The new professional standard for powerful realistic and artistic HDR imaging.

Color Efex Pro 3.0
52 photographic filters with over 250 effects for professional quality images.

Viveza 2
Powered by U Point® technology, Viveza 2 is the most powerful and precise tool available to globally or selectively control light and color in photographs without the need to create complicated selections or layer masks.

Sharpener Pro 3.0
The most advanced, powerful, and complete sharpening solution for photographers.

These are amazing plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom. Although each one is a standout in its own right , the one that really blows me away is SilverEFX Pro – check the whole bundle out a www.niksoftware.com

Will definitely post before/after images when I start using the collection!

New Tools – Lightroom 3, Nik Complete and Perfect Layers!

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of some new software goodies…finally making the jump to Adobe Lightroom from Photoshop. I will still use Photoshop, but looking forward to using Lightroom. I only did this becuase of a new product, OnOne Software’s Perfect Layers that allows Lightroom to work in layers just like Photoshop. Since it was developed in partnership with Scott Kelby, I know it will be a great tool! I use a lot of layers in Photoshop when working with textures and it will be super to have the other great tools in Lightroom AND be able to add layers. I am also ordering the Nik Software Complete Bundle which includes Dfine, Sharpener, Vivenza, HDR Pro, Color EFX Pro and my #1 favorite, Silver EFX Pro. With these tools, along with my other favs, the Topaz Labs Bundle there is no creative limit to what I can do! Cant wait to see what “develops”…excuse the photo pun!

More info on the Nik Complete bundle in this video:

A different way to restore an old photo

A friend sent me an old photo and asked me if I could restore it. I decided to go one step further and used Topaz plugins, some textures and overlays to create an art piece vs a simple restoration. Here are the before and after:

I love textures

I was surfing Flickr recently and came across a photographer whose work fascinated me. She had a soft, feminine point of view and I loved her style. So I wrote to her and asked her how she achieved her look and she told me – Photoshop textures!

It turned out she also ran an e-store that sold her own original textures, so I checked them out and discovered a whole new realm. I am hooked. It involves layering textures over a photo, using layer masks to paint the texture on/off the photo and using clipping masks and adjustment layers to add effects. I have taken my Photoshop skills to a whole new level thanks to Leslie Nicole. See her textures and tutorials at www.frenchkisstextures.com.

Here is my first attempt at working with textures fpr portrait work with before and after images. Thanks to Leslie for the textures!

 

Panasonic Lumix LX5 – my new best friend

I just traded up my beloved Panasonic Lumix LX3 for the new LX5. For those of you that have not seen the LX5 and its daddy the LX3, it is like having an old Leica in your hands. If you are in a situation where a big DSLR is just not possible or practical, this is the perfect camera. It does just about everything creative you can do with a full size DSLR without the weight and size. It allows for discreet shooting with the highest possible image quality. AND it also shoots beautiful HD movies, too! PS…got a gently pre-owned model at B&H Photo in NY for $349 vs $499 new. When it arrived, it was indistinguishable from a new one. Great deal!!!

Learn more about this camera