Happy Photography Friday! Man, it felt so good to get back into Photoshop and play around. It’s been over a month since I have been able to edit photos because of my laptop breaking down. (Didn’t hear the story? Read about it last week: Photography Challenge: Shapes. I also covered the criteria I wanted for my new laptop for top Photoshop performance).
As such, I wanted to make this post easy and fun. Here are four fun filters to mess around with in Photoshop:
–Convert to Black and White
–Create Bokeh after the fact
–Add an Oil Paint Effect
–Convert green trees to a fall scene
I learned these four affects by reading Scott Kelby’s How Do I Do That In Photoshop? Kelby covers MUCH MORE than I ever will cover on my blog, so I highly recommend renting the book from your library or purchasing it using my affiliate link, which adds no additional cost to you but provides me a small commission. With that, let’s have some fun!
Convert to Black and White
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I imaged converting to black and white to be difficult or something that needed to be perfected after multiple tries. In fact, it's really simple and Photoshop does most of the work for you. Follow these simple steps. (1) Click on the Create New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and (2) choose Black & White from the pop-up menu. Suddenly, your image will convert to black and white, yet you can still use (3) the sliders to tweak the conversion. You'll see how adjusting these colors affects it. In the picture below, I slide the red slider to the left to darken the lips and highlights in the hair. Not sure what you're looking for? You can use (4) the presets for different affects.
The best way to get that dreamy blurry background look is by doing in camera instead of in Photoshop. Don't know how to do that, check out my Photography Challenge: Achieving Bokeh. But if for some reason, you didn't get the shot at the time, you can attempt in Photoshop. I decided to use a picture of my daughter, that I originally wanted to have a bokeh. At the time, I didn't have the right lens nor did I realize how I would need to place my subject for the picture. I reflect upon this failure in my post 5 Things I Learned From 3 Weeks Without a Photography Challenge. Below, I attempt to achieve Bokeh again, within Photoshop.
(1) Go to the Filter menu, Blur Gallery, and choose from Iris Blur. When you do this, it creates a large oval in the center of your image with a slight blurring outside the oval. When you look at the background of this original image (2) you can see how in focus it was. Now, look at how the background was changed below.
One of the reasons why I couldn't ahcieve bokeh in camera was that my subject (girl) was too close to the background (flower tree) that I wanted blurred. In order to get the picture, I needed to position my subject in front of the tree a few feet. Ironically, this is the reason why when I create a bokeh affect in Photoshop, the image still seems off. The subject is touching the tree so to have her in focus and the tree out of focus doesn't create a believeable affect as her arm seems to disappear into the blurry world behind her. I fixed this by picking a different picture where my subject is in front of the blurry background by some distance.
It's a much more believable bokeh, but you can still tell the difference when looking at her feet. The sand within the oval is different than the sand outside. When (3) the oval appears, you can resize it by clicking and dragging on the edge of it. Moving it is easy as you click and drag the pin in the center. You can rotate the oval as well by clicking on one of the control points on the oval and it changes to a double headed arror and you click and drag as it spins. To increase the amount of blur, use the (4) blur panel. You can slide it one way or the other and it will change immediately. You can also change (5) the light, color, and range of light.
Add an Oil Paint Affect
This is a fun affect, which I recommend for nature, plants, landscapes, even buildings. However, I attempted a picture of my daughters and while I tried my hardest, I couldn't get them to look not terrifying. If you can pull it off, more power to you. Once you choose your picture, go to the Filter menu, go down to Stylize, and choose Oil Paint.
Your Oil Paint panel will pop up and you can create different affects depending on how you slide the scales. I recommend clicking "Preview" so that you can see how it will affect your image before you save it. Also, I had a hard time seeing any change unless I was zoomed up really close in my photo. I realized to get the affect that I wanted I needed to resize my image. (You do this under the Image menu, Size Image). My photos were something like 6000x4000 pixels and I changed it to 1400 or even 700 pixels for the width. This made a HUGE difference when I applied the Oil Paint filter.
Insert Fall Instantly
Everyone loves capturing fall photos: smiling in front of those gorgeous trees with leaves changing colors. But the leaves change colors for a week and then fall, so if you miss that golden week, you are left with a dead looking background. But you can fake it, as long as you still have green leaves, such as the picture above, inside the zoo's aviary where the leaves never change color.
Once you open you image, go to the image menu, go to mode, and pick (1) Lab Color. (It will be on RGB Color by default). Then go to the image menu, go down to (2) Apply Image, and the Apply Image panel will pop up. Under Channel, select "b". Then under Blending, select "Overlay". Click Ok, and then remember to change back to (4) RGB Color. In the two picture below, the trees were green.
There you go! Four fun photoshop challenges that are quick and easy. I am still really new to Photoshop so these were fun for me to play with. As we go along, I am looking into more complicated photoshop challenges. Until then, I hope you enjoy having fun with me.