We all know that Photoshop can offer endless methods to accomplish the same task, being an extremely versatile application. The workflow is different from one person to another, but which technique is the best for the task at hand? That can be difficult to understand for users who just started to use Photoshop and are trying to improve but they do not know what to choose when there are so many ways of producing the same effect.
- Working on a single layer
First things first, no matter what you want to do in Photoshop it is always best to work on separate layers, leaving the background layer alone. This allows you to go back later and make changes to the layers you made. You don't like the color balance you modified back then? Don't worry, you have the flexibility of removing the layer or making changes to it so that it works with your concept and idea.
This is what they call a non-destructive workflow, creating new layers for each effect and each modification you make and even naming them accordingly so that it's easier to make changes later.
- Deleting and Erasing instead of Masking
This is a really bad habit and I sometimes do it myself when I don't have time to get into the details of a photograph I'm editing. This is clearly a very destructive way of editing because you lose image content. To avoid that, there is this thing called layer mask.
What it does is it temporarily hides the parts you want to hide in an image and if you want to go back you can always deactivate the mask or make changes to it.
- Click-click-click that mouse button like there's no tomorrow
The best way to use Photoshop is with one hand on the mouse(or pen) and the other hand on the keyboard. You don't have to know all the keyboard shortcuts Photoshop has, you just have to know the ones that are most useful to you. And if you don't like Photoshop's default shortcuts, you could always customize your own.
Here are some basic shortcuts that are useful for general use:
Cmd/Ctrl + T = Free Transform
Cmd/Ctrl + S = Save document
Cmd/Ctrl + A = Select all
Cmd/Ctrl + D = Deselect
Cmd/Ctrl + I = Invert colors
Cmd/Ctrl + click on the thumbnail of the layer = selection based on the content of the layer
Cmd/Ctrl + G = Group Layers
Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + G = Ungroup Layers
Pimp your background desktop with this wallpaper:
- Transforming Pixel Layers
Introduced back in Photoshop Cs2, this technology called Smart Objects allows us to transform a layer as many times as we want without losing image quality. What Photoshop does in this case is it embeds the image inside the PSD file as a separate file and it uses that embedded source image to render the changes of the Smart Object.
It is important to convert a layer into a Smart Object while it's still in its highest available size to get the best quality out of it.
- Got any adjustment layers?
Similar to working on a single layer, working without using adjustment layers is a big mistake. If you use the image menu to create adjustments they will be applied on the selected layer and you can't change them later on.
On the other hand, if you apply them as Adjustment Layers they will appear completely independent from the layer you're working on and you have great control in terms of opacity, blend mode and settings. Keep in mind that an Adjustment layer will affect all underlying layers; if you want it only on a specific layer, you have to clip it to that layer.
- Organizing the disorganized workflow
Again, another mistake I seem to do is being disorganized in terms of how my layers look/are named, if they are in groups, etc. But that happens only when I'm working on a small project that doesn't require a lot of layers.
If you are working on an image that is fairly complicated and you suddenly end up with a lot of layers and you don't know which one is which, then you can either group similar layers, name them correspondingly, set a color for them so that they're easily recognizable afterwards.
Don't think of it like a waste of time, it will by far save you a lot of time, especially if you are working on the project with a team and the PSD files are shared between other people.
- Using filters destructively
Photoshop gives you the option to apply filters in a non-destructive way as Smart Filters. When you apply a Smart Filter to a layer, you will be able to turn it off and on easily to check/change something, modify its settings, opacity/blend mode, etc. Moreover, you can apply multiple filters onto the same Smart Object and use a mask to hide or reveal the effect.
- Lack of navigation skills
Look at those vertical and horizontal scroll bars around the image. They are there only to strengthen your wrist muscles. You can stop wasting your time and use the Spacebar button, which gives you access to the Hand tool and pan the image around with it.
Here are some quick things that will help you navigate in Photoshop easily:
Space = hand tool
Z + drag right and left = zoom in and out
Hold down H + click = bird's eye view
Cmd/Ctrl + 0 = fit to screen
Cmd/Ctrl + 1 = actual size of the document
- What's bridge?
Adobe Bridge is Photoshop's native file management application. What it does is it helps organizing and finding your images/project files, while saving a lot of time. I find it useful when you are working on two display, and having it placed on the second display so you can access it quickly if you're working on an project that let's say, requires a lot of images.
- Hey there PSD, be my backup buddy
It's always good to save your work as a PSD file. Why? Well, there will come a time when your computer freezes and you curse the day you didn't save your work frequently. Having a PSD file at hand when you work for a client is really useful when the client wants some changes and you can go back and actually change that ugly bird in the sky with a beautiful dove.
you can click on all the screenshots I've provided to take a closer look at them and download the Photoshop Wallpaper
What bad habits do you have when working in Photoshop?Is your workflow organized or you just go with the flow?Which of these seem complicated to you and you think you won't use them in the future?
Photo projects are great for experimenting with photographic styles, see what you like, take risks and learn new things that you never thought about. Some of them can be fairly simple, but inspirational and others can be a tad more complicated and require more (free) time. But a successful photo project engages viewers to want to see more and to discover the world through your eyes.
And if you want to spend more time on this project and make it different, you can always get some rolls of black paper and cut them into fun shadow people. That completely changes the idea of the project and makes it more personal.
A good photo project doesn't require expensive equipment, all you need is a camera and a well-thought concept that would make sense as a whole when viewing the series of images you shot.
Also, they are fun to create!
1. The Speech bubble project
This is a great project if you like street photography and want to do something fun including it. The tagline would be: Do you ever wonder what people are thinking about when you pass them on the street?
You can do this by creating several speech bubbles and placing them in an area where you know a lot of people would pass by (eg. the metro station, near an interesting door, on a wide wall of a building, there are infinite possibilities).
And then you wait for the right moment and snap the picture
Or if you don't want to make the speech bubbles by hand, you can always hunt for different expressions of people's faces on the street and guess what they are thinking, write it down and place the speech bubble in a photo editing software afterwards.
2. The shadow project
This one speaks for itself, you can go out on the streets at a particular time of the day when shadows are long and defined (early morning or sunset) and create a nice framing and composition which can tell a story. Or, for a more dramatic look, chase those shadows at night.
And if you want to spend more time on this project and make it different, you can always get some rolls of black paper and cut them into fun shadow people. That completely changes the idea of the project and makes it more personal.
3. Portrait with quote project
As the title says, you can go on an adventure and choose to portray people from your city/country, asking them to tell you one quote that they believe in. After taking their portrait, you can add that quote in a photo editing program. This is a great way to show people's different personalities and the way they live their lives.
Or if you don't want to include a quote, you can always have some paper and a pen with you and tell them to write one thing that they love and then take the picture with them holding the paper.
4. The 365 project
I'm sure by now everybody knows what this project is about, but how many of you have you tried it? The project is like a daily journal. This is a great way to encourage yourself to take one photo/day during a whole year, experiment with different framing, different lighting, or showing an important moment of the day.
Examples of photo projects from people on dA:
5. 'Switcheroo' project
I left this as the last one because it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it sure is interesting. Hana Pesut is the initiator for this project, and the idea behind it is to take 2 sets of portrait photos of a couple, one in their usual clothing and the other where they have their clothes switched.here.
As a final thought, these are just some examples on what you can do to discover what you like or if you want to express an idea that you've always thought about. There are many other photo projects to get inspiration from and create your own, but! You have to be consistent once you start something, be sure to ambition yourself to finish it!
Sat Aug 10, 2013, 12:19 PM
How are you all doing? I've been missing for a quite a long time and I am sorry for that. I sometimes wonder if I'm going crazy or it's just a phase that keeps repeating. I don't know and I'm trying to forget about it.
There are too many thoughts in my head that don't want to be organized, that are coming and going and never seem to stop. It's like a whirlwind of thoughts and images. I've written in a journal before that I am and have been an introvert all my life, trying with all my might to escape this. You might think 'Yeah it's just shyness, no big deal, get over it'. Well, it's not that simple as it looks. My 'shyness' has been blocking any social relationships with anyone that I don't know, and sometimes with close friends, and most of the times I've missed a lot of opportunities of work/shootings/filming because of that.
I am the only one to be blamed for pushing my friends away and not open my heart to them. Whenever I know I'll meet someone I don't know for example, I get some sort of panic attack and the situation suddenly becomes really stressful. Always thinking about the future, worrying too much.
Maybe I've been denying all sorts of things that happened during my childhood. I always lived under the dream that it was a normal childhood. Well, if I left out my awkward personality and the divorce of my parents, leaving me and my sister without a father. The fact that my mom has struggled for both of us all these years makes me sad and crazy at the same time. She's my mother and my father, and the best mom I could ever have. But I still have that sadness imprinted on the back of my mind ever since I was 7 and always think about what she's been through. There were times when we didn't have money to buy a loaf of bread. There were kids at my school that always gave me weird glances when I said that my parents were divorced. There were times and times. And then I got older and I had to go to my father to get the child support money. It was always awkward, as I was talking to a stranger and I didn't like him because he made my mom suffer. I never said the word 'dad' and it's still odd for me to pronounce it till this day.
Fast forward to the second year of my college, I had a really important film to make for my second semester exam. The day I started filming, my father died. I didn't go to the funeral. I couldn't, not because I hated him, but because I just couldn't make myself to go. I still don't know what to think of that until now.
Fast forward to the present, I'm wondering if all these things and other more made a slightly bigger impact on my mind. A part of me wants to live in a dark corner, not seeing/talking to anyone, and the other part wants to keep fighting and actually achieve something in life. My moral changes from up to down in a matter of seconds. One day I can be super confident of what I do, and the next day everything shatters.
Phew, that felt good to take it off the back of my mind.
So, today's my birthday. I was thinking about doing a giveaway on my FB page to thank you all for the feedback I've received over the years I've been here. I'll be printing and sending 3 canvas prints to one lucky winner. The canvas is about 3/4" thick, ready to be hanged on the wall. There are no restrictions for entering, I'm going to do all I can to ship them internationally if it's needed You will find the rules of the giveaway when you click on the image below. I won't ask you to like my page, but it will be of great support if you do. You'll see the giveaway post there.
Now, about the triptych. As you can already see, it's another version of Supermoon in Wonderland. I got a lot of requests to make it available as print after being shared everywhere on facebook and other social sites and I'm actually selling them on etsy.com. But this one that I'm giving away is one-of-a-kind and I haven't made it available anywhere yet, either shown it to anybody besides my family.
I'm going to stop blabbering now and check my huge number of messages. And maybe upload some images after I finish faving what you guys did recently.
Questions for you: How do you deal with social anxiety, panic attacks and depression?
I hope you're all well!
*EDIT: Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes, I shall reply to everyone!
This Journal Skin was designed by ~Night-Beast
Watermarking is a term used loosely to describe:
- Branding of your images in a subtle way, such as across the bottom or even on a solid color bar to one side of an image;
- Marking a solid logo and/or copyright across your image, disturbing part of the subject. The watermark may be opaque, partially transparent or even embossed;
- Digitally labeling your image with a copyright that is not actually visible.
Now, the big question for photographers is should you watermark your images, and if so how?
Reasons photographers add a watermark to their images - PROS
- Establish copyright: This tells others the name of the copyright owner and creator of the image.
- Branding: This shows others who you are and often where they can find you and more of your work.
- Protecting: If placed in certain prominent areas of the photo, it makes removal more difficult, though likely not impossible. This can cut down on sharing, but also can make it harder for clients to take a web image get it printed. Some printers disregard watermark and will print it anyway. Some customers will take the time to remove one if it is not hard to remove.
- Advertising: Since it’s a fact that photos get shared, and customers will want to post your images to social networking sites and through emails, you might as well get the advertising benefit too.
- Expose thieves: At least if you add your watermark and branding in a hard to remove location, if a customer prints from the web image, it will be obvious to all.
Reasons photographers skip watermarking their images - CONS
- It is distracting: Watermarks cover up important elements of the photo. They ruin the essence of the image.
- It is arrogant: Some people think that images that were watermarked are prone to be shared less because they think they send a message of slight arrogance in saying it must under no circumstances ever surface anywhere without its proper reference.
- It shows self-confidence of the photographer: By not watermarking photos the photographer shows confidence in his work and style. You can recognize the work of certain photographers/favorite photographers without a by-standing reference.
- Allows the photo to shine (photos look better without text all over them)
It also depends where you choose to use your watermark, and where not. For example, it can be used on sharing sites like Facebook or Google+, but in my opinion on your personal site, it's better not to use it in order to showcase your portfolio without distractions.
Watermarks that are used on sharing networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, 500px, Flickr) have the purpose of redirecting the audience to your portfolio site.
The number one reason that people use watermarks is because of the rampant image theft on the internet. Now, if someone wants to steal your image, they can do that even if you have a watermark. In these days, from the moment you upload an image online, you are doing it with the knowledge that people will steal it and use it for whatever they want.
How to create your own watermark
First off, create a new document with your background set to transparent:
Next, grab the type tool (T for shortcut), select your desired font and size and write what you want to be displayed in your watermark:
And then save the file as *.png : File > Save As > png (shortcut: Shift+Ctrl+S on a PC or Shift+Command+S on a Mac)
And drag&drop (or File > Open, Ctrl+O/Command+O) the logo which you just created:
Photoshop imports the *.png file as a smart object, and then I usually set it to soft light and decrease the fill to suit the image.
Examples of bad watermarking that could ruin your image:
1. Don't be greedy (the example speaks for itself)
2. Don't be generous (don't make it smaller and don't place it somewhere around the point of interest of the photograph)
3. Don't be creative with frames and stuff (don't transform your photograph into a postcard, it doesn't enhance the image)
4. Don't pretend modesty (making the watermark small and placing it with full opacity in an area of the image can still catch the viewer's eye and become the main point of interest in the image)
Of course, these examples are exaggerated, but you get the idea.
In the end, you have the final decision whether to watermark your image or not, based on what you need it for.
Training your eye is very important. To take your photography to the next level and grow as an artist, you need to know what looks good, have an open mind and build your own style.
- Point at the first thing that attracts your attention (often being the brightest point in the image)
- Try to mentally trace the path your eye takes around the image (it's like connecting the dots in order to discover the story, in this case)
- Has the photographer used the rule of thirds? Or a different type of placing the elements in the image?
- Has the photographer shot from his eye level? Or chose a different point of view?
- What is the photographer trying to transmit with the image?
- How has the photographer used the environment to tell the story?
- How has the photographer used light?
- Why does the image work?
- Does the image evoke an emotional response in the viewer's eye?
- From the above, which can be applied to my photography?
I'm going to exemplify the above with an exercise that anyone can do, whether we're talking about a photograph, a painting and why not, a movie screenshot. Art is all around us, waiting for us to see it and recognize its effect on our minds.
I chose the Las Meninas painting by Diego Velázquez because we all know photography was born being highly influenced by the art of painting and it's said that this painting anticipated the invention of the camera because of its effect of naturalism and seen as a 'snapshot' of that particular moment in time and space.
Velázquez invites the viewer to be a part of this painting, and discovering all the details that make this special. One of the things that makes the viewer involved in the painting is the mirror in the background, which is reflecting the images of the young girl's parents, who are watching the painting process from behind. This brings us to another idea to reflect upon; if the viewer would take the position of the subjects in the mirror, the vanishing point of the image would have to be directly in the center of the mirror, but it is positioned to the right of the mirror. From this point of view, it seems that the reflection of the king and queen could be interpreted as being the reflection of the image of the king and queen in the painting that Velázquez works on. It's deliberately left to the viewer to decide upon that.
1. The first thing that attracts the viewer's attention is the little girl which is almost centrally placed in the foreground group of figures. The light that falls from the window on the right makes her the brightest figure in the painting, due to her dress and the way she's positioned so that most of the light falls on her.
2. We first discover the little girl's face, and after that our eyes look around her and discover the other figures that are in the background, their expressions and how they relate to the main subject. Then we discover the two figures in the mid ground, and then the man in the background. Our eyes rest a bit more on the man in the background, because he is wearing dark clothing on a bright lit wall.
3. In the diagram below, the the green lines define the central axis of the back walls of the room. The red diagonal lines define the center of the painting, and the vertical red line articulate the central axes of the painting. The blue lines articulate the orthogonals in the perspective system. Usually, all of these lines would converge, but in this painting none of these line up. This is due to the way Velázquez thought to present this image as a spontaneous portrait. If the main subject were to be placed at the intersection of these lines, the story would have been different, directing all the attention towards the little girl.
4. The horizon line is placed lower than the standing figures in the picture plane, thus creating the illusion that the horizon line of the painting is consistent with the actual eye-level of the king standing in front of the painting.
5. The interpretation of the image as a whole is left to the viewer's decision, after understanding the placement of the figures in the painting. It has been said that a consequence of creating such a spatial construction like this is making himself (Velázquez) as the highest figure in the painting.
6. I think this painting is brought to life by those little details that we, as viewers, discover after trying to connect all the 'dots' together. The painter used the environment to bring little bits and pieces that could back up the first concept that comes to mind. The way the subjects are placed in the frame, the details in the mirror, the man standing by the door in the background, the self-portrait of Velázquez incorporated in the frame, all of them add to the narrative of the painting.
7. Lighting has its great purpose in this painting, Velázquez used natural light coming from the window from the right as the main source, placing the little girl in front of the viewer's attention and creating tridimensionality with the light in the background (light in the foreground, darkness in the mid ground and light again in the background).
8. The image works because the effect of naturalism and spontaneity is achieved, and all the elements in the image gather as a whole, leaving no space for anything less or anything more.
9. It's that type of painting in which the viewer is allowed to take part of the narrative, it almost feels like you are there and not just admiring it.
10. The last point is up to us to incorporate all that we've learned and all that we'll be learning from now on into our concepts and ideas. The more you know about something, the more experience you have to take great photography.
See the light and remember it
Lighting in photography is a living, changing art. One of the most important abilities of a photographer is to see light and to remember it. Light is the most changing element in our daily life. We move among solid objects and among people who do not change drastically during a day or a week. But visually the appearance of our environment and of people around us may change from one hour to the next due to the time of day, the weather, or the particular source of light. Photographers are aware of these changes and store in their memory the impact different types of light have on our emotions and our subconscious. For a photographer, watching the light becomes second nature.
Some of the photographer's palette of tools:
-The angle of light
-Quality (hard or soft)
Angle of light
Quality of light
Hard vs Soft: Light can be hard, soft or gradations in between.
Soft lighting gained its popularity because it gives the scene a more natural look than hard lighting. But at the same time, it has a danger of lacking character. Soft light is very forgiving. Uncontrolled, it is still acceptable photographically. It's really hard for soft light to look bad, but it's not hard for hard light to look bad. If you go too soft in the lighting, it just becomes boring. The difficult thing is really to light softly, but to create a contrast at the same time.
The hardest source of light known in nature is the noonday sun; whereas an overcast sky is the softest source known.
Light has color. We all can differentiate the different color temperature the light has when you are walking in that beautiful light just before the sunset or normal day light, or flash.
The amount of daylight changes with the hour, weather, season and latitude.
A fun exercise
- Staying as close to home as possible,find a location that lets you face east and head there in time for the sunrise. Compose your shot with a focal length between 35-50mm and shoot into the sunrise. Shoot the same composition one or two hours later, then at noon, then two hours before sunset, then one hour before sunset, and then at sunset.
- Repeat this exercise during these same intervals with another composition but as you face to the south.
- Finally, download the images into your computer and look at them in a slideshow. That way you will really see and feel the difference of the light and the difference that the right time of the day can make.
Feel free to share your results of the exercise in the comments below!
What kind of lighting do you tend to use in your photography? Are you a hard light lover or a soft light lover? And why?
So I'm finally back home! I was (and still am) lazy and couldn't go through my message centre, but I will try to sort my messages out in the next days.
So cold in Paris! But at the same time it was nice to cool down from the massive nuclear bomb called Bucharest.
The first day was incredibly long, as I had to go from Bucharest to Frankfurt, wait in Frankfurt for 2-3 hours for the next plane which flew me to Paris.
During the flight, I learned that Russian people like to annoy the flight attendants. I also learned that grandmas can act like a 3yo when they want attention. Also, during my nighttime walks in the park, people scream every.single.time when the glimmering lights show from the Eiffel Tower starts.
Oh, and..do you guys know the National geographic tv show called 'To catch a smuggler'? The one where the officers at JFK International Airport look for people that are trying to import drugs and other illegal stuff into the US. Well, I felt just like one of those drug dealers in Frankfurt airport. Why? Well of course it's because...I had all my pockets full of rainbow glittering stuff!
Just kidding, I always take my photo backpack with me as a hand luggage, and it's usually full of equipment: camera body and other different accessories and lenses. So the guys from the airport thought I was suspicious - a midget with a giant backpack. I was told that someone is going to get me to check the backpack better. So I waited for the guy, got into a small room (just like in the show), opened the backpack and he did a drug test from a sample which he took from my equipment (I don't really know, but I'm supposing that was it). While waiting for the result, I was trying not to giggle because I was recalling the shows on Nat Geo. And that was it. Wherever I go, they still look at me with suspicious eyes after my backpack passes the x-rays.
I'm just happy I could see my mom and spend time with her for 7 days. The only person missing from there was my sister, but I hope she'll be able to come next time.
Thai coconut chicken soup - `nosugarjustanger, am I doing this right? You're the master of food
I found myself some pop tarts, ~ChristopherSacry. Thank you for the recommendation!
And that's all in a few words! Trying to keep it short
How are you all doing? Was spring nice to you?
I'll be away for a week, I'm travelling to Paris to see my mom. I won't have time to reply to messages, but I'll log in from time to time and I'll reply when I get back.
I hope to be returning with some nice images, I have 4 models in mind whom I want to contact for some shootings
See you on May, 10th!
How many of you remove the sensor dust from your digital camera's sensor on a regular basis? Sometimes, services can be expensive or you just don't have time to take your cameras to be checked and cleaned whenever it needs to.
Here are some tips on how you can spot the dust on your camera sensor effectively and how to remove it.
Checking your sensor.
Shooting the test image
- Start off by setting your ISO to the lowest (normal) range, for example 100 for Canon and 200 for Nikon;
- The test shot has to be completely out of focus, so go ahead and manual focus to infinity on a piece of paper OR to close focus for the sky;
- Now it's time to set the aperture. It's usually okay to set your aperture at f/22, that way all the spots are well defined and ready to lift off!
- What lens to use? Usually something like a telephoto lens will do;
- RAW or JPEG? Either of them is okay, as long as you set your JPEG at the highest quality and file size;
- Shoot your test image.
Post processing the test image
- Desaturate it by going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate or by hitting Ctrl+Shift+U for windows or Command+Shift+U for mac. You may see some spots at this point.
- Go ahead and make a levels adjustment layer above your background image ( you can find it either by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels, either by clicking the black and white circle icon at the Layers panel)
- Next, let's increase the contrast by bringing in the two end sliders to meet the ends of the peak from the histogram (which represents the tonal gradient that you have captured within your image)
This is how the image looks after increasing the contrast:
And a 50% zoom of the image:
Cleaning your sensor
- Important! Make sure you have a fully charged battery. You don't want to run out of battery while you're cleaning your sensor, you may damage it and the expenses are pretty high.
- Find the item in your camera menu that flips up the mirror and lets you access the sensor;
- Lay the camera down on a table and don't touch anything as you clean;
- You may want to use an air blower to remove the dust on the sensor;
- Do not use canned air;
- The image a lens projects onto the sensor is upside-down, and when the camera processes the image it is flipped right side up. So what you saw in your image has been flipped.
After that, shoot another test image and compare it with the other one to see if the spots have diminished. Sometimes they won't and that is pretty tricky because you'll have to use a special sensor-cleaning brush or swabs or solvents in order to remove the spots that still linger on the sensor.
Final tips and tricks
- Take this matter seriously and be prepared when cleaning your sensor; you don't want to damage it and later pay for an expensive repair.
- Be sure to read the directions of the products you use very carefully.
- The products you use need to be kept very clean.
The cleaning process can be tedious, but you don't always know that when you send your camera to be cleaned it will be done in detail, with sufficient attention. And even if you do, you can always check it after it was done.
Good dust hunting!
Thu Apr 11, 2013, 7:20 PM
I got my 4th Daily Deviation today, wow! I didn't have the slightest clue that one of my textures pack would get a DD, I was pretty surprised when I logged in this morning.
So thank you, ^Elandria for featuring it!
For a long time I wanted to upload some of these, so that people may have fun with them and (why not?) help them in creating beautiful art.
These were shot with the poor photographer's method of macro - with two lenses, one on top of another, the top one inverted.
Hard to believe, but this was the jelly from a piece of cake I ate some time ago.