Friday, October 28

27 Super Creative Photo Effects

"27 Super Creative Photo Effects Tutorials for Photoshop"

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Useful Photoshop Tools

Useful Photoshop Tools for removing unwanted blemishes in your photos

Source : HERE

level : basic


Let’s face it our pictures will never come out perfect straight out of the camera. Sometimes there will be some details we did not notice in our tiny viewfinder or an annoying bird that just happened to fly by at the wrong moment. Luckily for us, Photoshop provides us with an array of different useful tools to erase unwanted imperfections in out photos. In this tutorial I will show you the tools I use and how I use them to erase everything from birds flying around to tattoos.

The Clone Stamp Tool

      One of the first tools provided in Photoshop for this purpose was the Clone Stamp tool.Clones Stamp
What this guy does is clones an area you have selected and stamps it wherever you click. To select an area, hold down ALT and click on the spot you wish to clone. 
      The limitation on this tool is that if you do not have an appropriate area to clone over something you want to erase (for example same texture or color palette) than your modification will be grossly evident.

      To use it, first create a new Layer in your layers palette that way if you make a mistake you can always go back to your original image. Make sure your settings (located at the top of your window) are set to Mode: Normal, Opacity:100%, Flow: 100% and Sample: All Layers. 
     The sample all layers is most important since you’re telling the Clone Stamp to sample every layer the image has not just the one you are on. If not, since your current layer is new, nothing no image will be available to clone!
In this example I’m going to erase some trees that got in the way. What you want to do is using ALT key set the clone area in the sky immediately to the left of where the trees are. That way as you go down, the sky will gradually get darker and so will the area you are cloning.

The Spot Healing Brush

Another useful tool you can use is the Spot Healing Brush.Spot Healing Tool
What this tool does is make an average of is around the area you select using the brush to recreate the same texture and color palette. You have to be very careful with this one as it sometimes adds a weird pixel texture if there are a lot of different textures around your selected area. 
       Another thing to watch out for is an incomplete selection. What the tool will do is a horrible smudge as it gradually averages out of the selected area. For these reasons I tend to use it on small things like specs of dirt on a negative or really faraway objects.

The Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop CS3 has two Type settings. Switch it to Proximity Match and not only will it average everything selected but it will also blend the selected pixels and will try to follow the pattern of the image. Sometimes it is best to use this Type when, for example, contrasting colors or strong lines.

As of Photoshop CS5 they have added another Type setting called Content Aware. Now in my opinion it is a major improvement. Content Aware differs from Proximity Match as it tries to recreate the texture based on the surrounding pixels so it doesn’t blend with the pixels that you just painted over. A lot of times it’s a lot more accurate and smudge free.

Content Aware as a Fill

Now, a really neat trick you can do with Content Aware is using it as a fill. In this case you can select a spot in your photograph using the many selection tools available and by press Shift + F5 to bring up the Fill window. Make sure to set Content Aware in the Use dropdown list. Again, this feature is only available in Photoshop CS5.

This new feature gives you even better control and even better results. Remember you can tweak your selection using Refine Edge.

The Patch Tool

If you scan your negatives to work in Photoshop like I do or simply add grain to your photos you will find that sometimes these tools will mess up your grain pattern in an area that you worked on leaving behind revealing soft focus spots. What I like to use to recover the original grain pattern is the Patch Tool.Patch Tool

This tool works like a selection tool and averages the pixels selected from one area to where you want to place it. Just select a soft spot and drag it to a similar area you want to average it with. I find it comfortable to use because you can create odd shaped selections according to where you need to recreate the missing grain texture.

Make sure your Patch settings is set to Source otherwise it will work the other way. It will drag your selection and average it with the destination area you sent it to. This setting might be usefull if you find you’re missing grain in a certain area and you want to drag some in from other parts.

Finally, it goes without saying that not one of these tools are miracle workers all on their own. If you want to wipe out a whole lamppost from a scene, you’re going to have to use a combination of all them. 

Each tool has it’s pros and cons so finding how to compliment them is the key for subtle modifications in your images. 

Hope these descriptions and tips were useful!

Wednesday, October 12

Turn Humdrum Photos Into Cinematic Portraits

Turn Humdrum Photos Into Cinematic Portraits

level : intermeddiate 

Source HERE 

 There are a plethora of ways to treat a portrait, for a myriad of uses, but that is for another feature. Let’s tackle adding drama or a cinematic quality to a regular, humdrum portrait. Let’s even throw in a little bit of faking HDR. That way if you work on a project that requires a stunning shot without the stunning photography, you’ll be able to cobble something together using your mad skillz!

Asset Preparation

The images I’ve used are: The man, the cloud, the water drops 1, and water drops 2. As always feel free to use your own images, however you may need to tweak the settings of any of the steps to get the right effect with different assets. 

Step 1

- Open the man image from iStockphoto and separate him from the background. 

- Use whichever method you’re comfortable with, I would usually use the Pen Tool, but I’ll be honest, as he’s got no hair to worry about and the background is white I kinda cheated. I used the, ahem, Magic Wand Tool to select the white. 

- I then Feathered the selection by 1 pixel (Select > Feather), expanded it by 2 pixels (Select > Modify > Expand) and hit delete 2-3 times until the white halo disappeared. 

- Call this layer “MAN.” Select the Dodge Tool, set the Range to Highlights and the Exposure to 15% and run it over the Iris a couple of times. This should bring the eyes out a bit.

Step 2

- Open up the cloud image from and import it into the document underneath the “MAN” layer. 

- Resize it to about 130% and drag (Use the Select Tool, hold Alt and simply drag the cloud around the canvas) three duplicates. 

- Overlap them as in the image below. Then select the eraser, set as a large soft-edged brush, and run it along the hard-edges where the cloud layers meet.

Step 3

Finally, select the Clone Tool, set it to a large (around 400 pixels) soft-edged (0% hardness) brush and clone out the obvious pattern repetitions. Choose multiple source points to avoid more obvious patterns.

Step 4

These next few steps are a lot easier if you have access to a graphics tablet, however you can still do it with a mouse. Create a Curves Adjustment Layer just above the “MAN” layer and check the box that’s marked Use Previous Layer to Create a Clipping Mask. Set it up as shown and call it “CURVES_DARK.” Select the “CURVES_DARK” layer mask and fill it with black, this should hide the effects of the Curves.

Select the Paintbrush Tool and set it to 0% Hardness, 15% Opacity and 65% Flow
- Change the Brush size to suit the part of the image you’re treating. Obviously the bigger the brush, the smoother the transition. 
- Set the Foreground Color to White and begin painting directly on the Layer Mask. 
- Some areas require more work than others so don’t be scared of going over some patches several times.

Check the image below for approximate brush sizes to use. Cover both the skin and clothing. There is no exact science to this, it’s a lot of trial and error.

To get the finer details you’ll need to reduce the brush size right down. The eyelashes as an example required a 3 pixel brush, but I increased the opacity to around 40 percent. I did the same with the wrinkles and other hard-edges.

Ultimately, your Layer Mask should resemble this (press Alt and click on the Layer Mask to see where you’ve painted on the mask). I didn’t quite do enough on the Mask and there are three ways to rectify this. 

- Option 1 is to double-click on the Layer Thumbnail (this is represented, in this case, by a circle that’s half black and half grey). 
- Adjust the Curves to produce a darker result. 
- Option 2 is to continue painting on the Layer Mask, but you risk messing up your good work. - Option 3 is to duplicate the Curves Adjustment Layer, then you can scale back the effect by tweaking the Layer Opacity.

Step 5

- Again, all you peeps with a graphics tablet are going to find this a lot easier. Create another Curves Adjustment Layer above “MAN” and “CURVES_DARK” on the layer palette. 

- Check the box that’s marked Use Previous Layer to Create a Clipping Mask and call it “CURVES_LIGHT.” Pull the upper part of the line upwards to lighten the image.

Note: How much you manipulate the Curves layers (including “CURVES_DARK”) affects how much you’ll need to draw on the Layer Mask and how much you’ll need to tweak the overall exposure later on.

- Fill the “CURVES_LIGHT” Layer Mask with black and Draw directly onto it with a soft-edged brush loaded with white. Again pick the brush size and opacity to match the area you’re treating. If you overdo an area, load your brush with black and go over the problem area.

- You’re looking to paint over all the areas where there are highlights. To strengthen things like the wrinkles, you should paint light next to the dark but not over it. Paint up to hard-edges with a small brush and then away from it with a large brush to diffuse the transition.

- Alt-click on your Layer Mask thumbnail to see where you’ve painted on it. It should resemble the image below. Note the Layers palette as well, all my layers are currently on Normal at 100% Opacity and Fill. 

- The little arrow next to the Layer thumbnail signifies that it’s using the lower layer as a clipping mask.
If yours don’t, then select the “CURVES” layer and go to Layer > Create clipping mask

- To mask off any areas you require a hard-edge such as the bottom of the nose, simply draw around it using the Pen Tool, turn the path into a selection and paint onto the appropriate Layer Mask.

Step 6

- Create a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer above “MAN,” “CURVES_DARK” and “CURVES_LIGHT.” Use the underlying layers as a Clipping Mask. 

- Set the Gradient Map as shown below and then change the Layer Blending Mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to 75%

- Now you could tweak the hue/saturation, play with the channel mixer and add a nice studio-esque background and stop there for now. But let’s carry on and add some real drama to this.

Step 7

Add a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer below “MAN” and above “CLOUD.” 

- Input the darker color as #164370 (a darkish blue) and the lighter color as #e2dc9a (a muddy yellow) then set the Layer Blending Mode as Soft Light and change the Layer Opacity to 68%. - Add a Curves Adjustment Layer directly below the Gradient Map.

- Adjust as shown and then change the Layer Opacity to 60%. Your Layers palette should that shown below.

Step 8

Add a new layer directly above “CLOUD” and fill it with 60% black. 

- Set the Blending Mode to Overlay (it should disappear). 

- Select the Burn Tool and set to a big brush (917 diameter, 0% hardness), set the Range to Midtones and the Exposure to around 15%. 

- Then burn around the corners to create a vignette. 
Call the layer “VIGNETTE” and adjust the Opacity to suit. Mine ended up at 77%.

Step 9

Create a new layer directly above “MAN” (using “MAN” as a Clipping Path) and another directly below the “CLOUD_CURVES” and “GRADIENTMAP” layers.
Call the new layers “WHITEGLOW.” 

- Select the Paintbrush Tool, load it with white and work on the layers as shown below. Create a soft, white glow below the man to lift him from the background. 

- Then create a white glow above to bleed light from the background over the subject. Follow the pink path as shown, then go over a second time.

Step 10

This next step is a stylistic choice as we’re going for a stylized look. However, if you want a more naturalistic finish you can skip this part. Select all the layers currently linked with “MAN.”

 Then go to Filter > Stylize > Glowing Edges and set up as shown

We want to knock out the midtones on this so go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and set up as shown.

Then change the Layer Blending Mode to Screen and drop the Opacity down to around 34%. Duplicate this layer and set the duplicate Blending Mode to Overlay, change the Opacity to around 13%. I also masked off areas around the chin on the original Glowing Edges Layer (Screen, 34%).

Step 11

Duplicate the “CLOUD” layer and drag it above the “GLOW_EDGES” layers. 

- Apply a 2-3 pixel Gaussian Blur, then set the Layer Blending Mode to Screen and the Opacity to 50%. 

- Take a soft-edged Eraser and delete all parts of the cloud that spill over the face and details. Duplicate the layer and drag it until you get a fairly even coverage of mist at the bottom of the image. Call these layers “CLOUD_BLURRED.

Step 12

Download the water drops 1 image from and open it. Go to Image > Rotate Canvas > 180 degrees. Erase the bigger ball of water and the broken balloon part.

Then select the Burn Tool, set it to Shadows with an Exposure of 35% and run it along where you’ve erased. This should give a more realistic blend.

Paste it into your document directly above the “CLOUD_BLURRED” layers and set the Blending Mode to Screen. Position on the shoulder so that the condensed drips line up with the mans shoulder. You will need to rotate it to fit. Then drag a duplicate of this layer along the shoulder, rotate and fit. Call these layers “DROPS_RIGHT.”

Duplicate both “DROPS_RIGHT” layers and with the duplicates selected go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Rotate them to fit the line of the shoulder and rename them both “DROPS_LEFT.”

Download and open the water drops 2 image from We only want the drops here so delete the Balloon and the denser part of the water (Eraser and then Burn Tool). 

- Paste into the Working document, change Blending Mode to Screen. To get smaller bits of spray simply resize to make them smaller.

- To get drops of rain, drag a duplicate and resize bigger. 
Make several copies until you get a good spread. Use the Clone Tool to get a more precise covering. 

- Then group the layers, select the group and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal all. Use this Mask to soften the impact of the rain, remove any drops covering detail and give it an overall clean up.

Step 13

Create a new layer directly above the “WATER_DROPS” group (the rain and stuff) and call it “STARBURST.” Fill it with 60% black and go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and set up as shown below.

 Then go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Apply a Zoom blur as shown. 

- The Blur center should be just on the mans shoulder. If you don’t hit that, then just reposition the layer and resize it so it fills the entire canvas.

Finally, adjust the Levels as in the image below and set the Layer Blending Mode to Overlay. As 60% is pretty much an overlay neutral color, and the levels are well balanced out, it shouldn’t affect the whole image. 

- Add a Layer Mask to mask out any areas that you don’t want rays. I masked out parts of the face and shirt.

Step 14

Create a new layer directly above “STARBURST” and call it “FAKE_RAIN.” Fill it with 60% black, add noise (as you did for “STARBURST”) and then resize it.

Then go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur.

Bring up the blending options (click the f symbol in the black circle at the bottom of layers palette) and pull the black Layer Slider across to 130.

Apply a Small Gaussian Blur.

And a Smart Sharpen filter.

Finally, tweak the Levels and set the Layer Blending Mode to Hard Light.

Step 15

Duplicate “FAKE_RAIN,” call it “FAKE_RAIN_BGROUND” and move it below the “VIGNETTE” layer on the layers palette. 
Rotate it 10 degrees or so and change the Layer Opacity to 75%.

Step 16

Create a new Gradient Map Adjustment Layer directly above “FAKE_RAIN.” Set the darker color as #075053 and the lighter color as white. 
Then set the Layer Blending Mode to Color with an Opacity of 55%. 

Add Layer Mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All), grab a large soft-edged brush, load it with black, reduce brush Opacity to 20% and paint over the face area a couple of times

Step 17

Add a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer directly above the Gradient Map you just created. 

- Pull the Saturation slider down to -68% and OK it. At this staged I added a Layer Mask and masked off some of the red tie using the a soft-edged brush at 25% Opacity.

Step 18

Add a Curves Adjustment Layer above that and set up as shown below. It’s looking pretty moody now, time to add the finishers on this.

Step 19

Create a new layer above the three new Adjustment Layers and call it “OVERLAY_DODGE/BURN.” 

- Fill it with 60% black and change the Layer Blending Mode to Overlay. 

- Using the Dodge and Burn Tools we’re going to further boost some highlights and a couple of shadows.

Here’s how it looks with the changes.

Here’s roughly what your “OVERLAY_DODGE/BURN” layer should look like on Normal Blending Mode. Notice that some areas are whiter than others, those areas have been painted on more times than the darker parts. Layering it up is the key to a smooth and natural transition.

Step 20

As a little salad garnish I’ve added a lens flare. 
- Fill a new layer with black. Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare and pick 105mm prime. 

- The default settings should be fine. Set the lens flare Layer Blending Mode to Screen and position it above the shoulder.

- It’s worth mentioning that I also applied a small amount of noise, followed by a Gaussian Blur (around 4 pixels) and then a smart sharpen (around 150 at 7 pixels).

Step 21

Select all of your layers and duplicate them. Merge all the duplicated layers into one, making sure you leave the originals untouched. Duplicate the merged layer and name one “HIGH_PASS” and one “INVERTED.” Select “HIGH_PASS” and go to Filter > Other > High Pass. OK a 2 pixel pass and then set the Layer to Overlay. Mask off any sections you feel are too strong, I did the starburst area a little.

Step 22

Select the “INVERTED” layer and desaturate it (Command + Shift + U). 

- Then invert it (Command + I), apply a 40 pixel Gaussian Blur and then set the Layer Blending Mode to Overlay. It’s a little much so drop the Layer Opacity to around 45% or whatever you’re comfortable with.


You should be left with a highly editable image. Adjust Layer Opacities, fine-tune Layer Masks, play with Adjustment Layers or even turn visibility of some of the layers off. Even without the rain and the clouds and whatnot, what you’re left with is a way to make portraits punchier. View the final image below or a larger version here.