Sunday, December 27, 2009

Anatomy of...Cute Boys Face.

Whew!  We've done 4 days straight of festivities!
I've barely touched my computer in days so it's time to get back to *normal* with a little blogging action:)

A few weeks ago I mentioned a great tip for removing the texture from a face without removing the color enhancement.  I use textures on almost all my portrait shots but it's usually not a good idea to have weird texturey stuff all over your subject's pretty face...

...unless, of course, you're like me and just can't settle for "normal" in a photo!

I've found myself intentionally adding a bit of texture lately to some pretty cute faces just to see what happens.

I started out kind of subtle...just a little extra texture on the hair and chin area...

...then I went straight to very non-subtle!  why not???

It's amazing how easy it is to add some drama to these portraits with just layer masks and a little creative erasing.

Here's a little Anatomy Lesson of my Cute Boys Face.  This is back to the subtle category of edits! 

1.  I opened my original in Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac:

2.  Next I softened the skin with Coffeeshop Powder Room 2 then Duplicated my Background Layer, ran a Gaussian Blur filter on the duplicate then erased most of the blur expect for the left eye and part of his lips.  (This is my hacker version of faking depth of field, you can check out my Faking It technique here!_
Here's what my layers palette looked like with the duplicate layer blurred then erased:

3.  Next I added my lovely textures...
     Dark Dream (Kaleidoscope) @ 81%
     Vintage warm (Flora Bella Collection) @ 35%
     then I erased part of the textures off his face without erasing them completely.  I left just a hint of texture on the side of his face.  Here's my layers palette showing my textures and layer masks.  The black parts are showing where I erased with a soft black brush on the layer mask.

4.  After I got my texture just where I wanted it I brightened up the colors a bit with Coffeeshop Color Pop 2 at 39%.  Here's my finished portrait:

I think without that unexpected touch of texture this photo would have been a little too "pretty" for this cool boy.    

Every photograph doesn't have to be normal...Right?!?!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Girl In The White Dress

Wanna know how I turned this photo...

...into this?

Then head over to TexasChicksBlogsandPics where I've revealed all my editing secrets!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Attitude Adjustment

Don't even get me started.

I had visions of the perfect family photo for our Christmas cards this year.
Unfortunately I forgot to factor in that I don't have the perfect family.

I'll save the gory details of Family Picture Day for another post. I'm still trying to recover.
Today I'll show you my quick little Attitude Adjustment...the photoshop way!

Princess, who's usually my major camera hog, was giving major attitudes while trying to snap our family photo.  Here's the best one of the bunch...

As you can see, it's not quite 'Christmas Card' worthy!

Event though Elements has a photomerge feature in it, there weren't any good ones that merged easily so I had to rig it up on my own.

I liked this shot I got of her later when she finally decided to chill out...

So I selected my Quick Selection tool and just selected her head and upper part of her shirt.
Here's my screenshot showing the 'marching ants' around my selection...

Then I dragged my selection onto my family portrait and resized my floating head over the 'attitude' head.  Here's my creepy screenshot with 2 heads on my portrait!

I resized the good head over the bad head and it fit pretty well.  I cloned the bushes behind her to make everything blend in.

TaDa!!  My new Perfect Family!

If only it were that easy in real life!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Anatomy of...Brown Haired Girl

I've got a little mini-tutorial for you today on my Brown Haired Girl.

In an effort to be creative and witty I tried to think of a title other than "Tutorial".  
Obviously that plan didn't work out too well and "Anatomy" is the best I could come up with ~ enjoy!

I say 'mini' due to the fact that I'm not giving screen shots or exact instructions on every single step.  
I've said it before and I'll say it again...I'm a hacker when it comes to editing...a little of this...a little of that...maybe see what happens when I click get my point?  

Which means my Anatomy Lessons will primarily be about how I've used textures or actions to enhance a photo.  I'm a texture junkie and can't live without Rita's actions so you'll be seeing LOTS of those here!

So here's my unbelievably gorgeous Brown Haired Girl...

Obviously she is perfect without any assistance from me but if I stopped now this would be a boring post!

1. I opened my original pic in photoshop elements 6 (mac version...there's nothing better!)  and cropped in a little closer.  

2. I used Coffeeshop Powder Room 2 to soften her skin just a bit and whiten her eyes a little. I use this action on almost EVERY SINGLE portrait I edit!  It's amazing how just a touch of whitening to the eyes really make them shine:)

3. After touching up the face I ran Erin's Defog action to give an overall boost to the pic. This action is great for lifting that "haze" that is so often on photos that you may not even recognize until after you've defogged!

4. Then I started adding my comes the fun!  All textures are from the Kaleidoscope collections.
     A.  Golden Sun @69% - added layer mask and erased lightly off the face
     B.  Dream Sequence @ 74% - added layer mask and erased lightly off the face
           lassoed face - gaussian blur to take the texture off the face (screenshot below)
     C.  Bokeh Bunch Warm @ 82%  - added layer mask and erased lightly off the face

When using textures on faces, it's usually not a good idea to have a bunch of weird texturey stuff on the face of your subject.  In order to keep the color enhancement that the texture adds but delete the actual texture itself just do this:
        A.  Select your Lasso Tool in your toolbar. Make sure your texture layer is highlighted.
        B.  Lasso the area you want the texture to be gone from (faces, arms, etc.)
        C.  Select Filter - Blur - Gaussian Blur then choose the amount of pixels that blurs the texture 
              enough for your liking.  
Here's a screenshot for you of what it looked like when I lassoed her face to take off the texture.  

Now that I have all my textures on the photo here's a screenshot of my layers palette showing each texture and it's layer mask showing how I just erased some of the texture off the face.
A layer mask just attaches itself to the 'layer' and allows you to make adjustments to that layer specifically.  You can grab a free Layer Mask Action here along with great instructions on how to use it.

Those black/gray places on the white masks show where I chose my Brush - set foreground color to Black - then brushed on the area where I wanted to 'erase' part of that texture.

5. Now it's time for some action!  I wanted a dreamy effect on this so I ran the Orton  action then flattened my layers.

6.  Then I changed my mind and decided I didn't want quite so dreamy so ran the Vivid 2 action
     and chose the Urban selection.  Love Love the Urban look! 
     Take a look at how I erased the Urban action (layer mask automatically attaches with the action)
     just from the area around her face.  Here's my screenshot showing the action choices in the layers 

7.  I lowered the opacity of the Urban layer to 85% and also darkened just a little around the edges then flattened my image and called it a day!

Again, here's the lovely portrait we started with...

...and here's the finished product.  Not necessarily better, just enhanced!

I hope this helps to encourage you to give those textures and actions a try!  I usually just layer them up and see what happens...there's no right or wrong...gotta love that!

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