Posts tagged “texture

Kauai Silhouette


I was experimenting with silhouettes early one morning in Kauai, HI.  The camera was triggered with a wireless shutter release (was thankful I didn’t have to scramble back and forth through the sand and rocks using the self-timer).  I’m sure that someone thinks that there’s only one right way to shoot silhouettes but my preference is to error on the side of slightly overexposing relative to a completely black silhouette.  This varies based on the background but I want to make sure to get enough detail in the non-silhouetted portions of the photo.  Of course I could composite multiple exposures but I find it simpler to use Lightroom and/or Photoshop to reduce the exposure in the appropriate areas to get a complete silhouette if that’s what I’m after.  Often there’s no need for this extra work though — I usually can get I what I want in-camera (I did with this one).  Shooting brackets isn’t a bad idea either if you’re unsure.  The textures were added via OnOne Perfect Photo Suite.

Textured Flower

Textured Flower

I’ve been experimenting with textures recently.  I’ve seen so many good images using textures and I generally like the effects.  Here’s my latest attempt using a picture of a flower growing in my backyard a couple of years back.  The textures are all courtesy of Jerry Jones at Shadowhouse Creations (check his stuff out — lots of great textures).

I used three textures as follows: “Notaclue-1” in soft light blend mode (100% opacity), “In The Beginning 8-1-2009 #29” in overlay blend mode (36% opacity), and “Retro” in overlay blend mode (30% opacity).  All three texture layers were tweaked for color (mainly some desaturation) and had light masking in the area of the actual flower itself.  Finally, a slight s-curve was added in luminosity blend mode (50%) — slight masking of the flower again.

Think it looks OK?

[Update: Jerry Jones, if you ever happen across this know that I attempted to comment on your site and give you kudos but the robot prevention code thingy always said I entered the wrong letters…which I know isn’t the case.]

Gulf of Mexico Sunrise

Gulf of Mexico Sunrise 50mm, f22, 1/60s

A recent sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico along Padre Island National Seashore.  The image was processed with 4 or 5 different textures in OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite.  After that I did a few Photoshop curves adjustments…that’s it.

Quick Take On Perfect Photo Suite 6 From OnOne

Cows In A Fog

Some time ago I took the plunge and purchased OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 6.  I finally got time to try it out so I grabbed the image (original below) of some cows in pasture to try it out OnOne’s tools.  It was a very small jpg (only 344k) but it was conveniently sitting around on my desktop.  [Regarding the shot itself: I was traveling in east Texas recently and while heading out to work early one morning saw these cows and took the shot.  I liked the peaceful, foggy scene.].

Cows 70mm, f/2.8, 1/125s, ISO ?

I opened up this image in Perfect Photo Suite 6 in the software’s standalone mode (previous versions required opening from Photoshop I believe).  I first used the Effects panel and the Textures sub-panel to add several texture layers (there are layer and masking capabilities similar to Photoshop) , adjusting “strength”, masking out a few spots, and changing blending modes.  There are additional settings as well.  For instance, you can select “normal”, “subtle”, “lighter”, and “darker” options in a “Mode” drop down which change the initial effect.

I then went into the Frames panel and added the film border which included the decay effect along the edges.  There are roughly 1500 individual frames to choose from and a myriad of options which can be tweaked for each.  Of course you can combine effects as well…ENDLESS options.

My impression based on this 15-minute experimental session?  Good stuff.  There are some things which will take getting used to regarding the particulars of using the masks and such.  I’m not implying anything negative though — I’m just used to Photoshop and it will take a little practice to become proficient in the subtleties of OnOne’s tools.  There is clearly a lot of potential and I will definitely be digging into Perfect Photo Suite 6 more deeply.

Blue Hour Baseball

Blue Hour Baseball 135mm, f/3.5, 1/250s, ISO 3200

I recently took in a high school baseball game in the role of the official photographer (filling in for Pete Talke).  When on the first base side I often tried to get photos of a baserunner avoiding a pick-off when he took a big lead.  I generally would prefocus near the base to avoid having autofocus go off in the weeds.  There were a few decent images from the night and I decided to process this one with some textures in order to put into practice a few things I’d learned recently.  This isn’t the most exciting image (other images had dirt flying, etc) but I chose it because both players are shown well and the coach is completely out of the frame.  It also happened to be the “blue hour”, that time of deepening darkness after sunset when the sky has that deep blue hue.

First step: clone out the light poles from the original (shown with basic edits below).  Had I been at a wide enough angle and the actual light fixtures themselves been showing I likely would have left them in as they would add that baseball park feel to the image.  They were simply annoying in my framing.

Original image

I continued by choosing a few textures which had potential.  Some were picked based on color, some solely on the actual texture (It’s “shape”?  Not sure what words to use to describe that…).  I loaded up the starting image and the textures and began experimenting.  I blended in earthy-toned textures more heavily into the dirt and grass while using more blues in the sky.  Some textures I incorporated into the whole image and some only in a portion.  Blend modes used were overlay, soft light, and linear light.  Below I show a screenshot of what I ended up with as layers and masks.  There were many pleasing combinations and frankly it was hard to decide what direction to take at times.  I also took the liberty of modifying the texture layers with the clone stamp in two cases.  One example was the “Office” texture had some text in it which I found very nice until I added the skyline — just didn’t work so I cloned out the text.  Some layers are more prominent than others as well — the second scratched copper layer was rotated about 30 degrees from the first then blended in but in truth is barely noticeable at all.  I could probably remove that layer without changing the image much.

The skyline was added as an afterthought when I already considered myself done.  My original intent with it was to use the layer (original skyline image is here) to create something similar to what an artist would sketch in pen then blend the hard pen strokes into the sky as another texture.  However, I ended up using a gaussian blur of 5-ish pixels to soften it like the existing background then blended it in with a blend mode of ‘soft light’.  Your mileage may vary but I like how it’s there but very subtle and not too distracting from the action.  It’s not intended to look real but just add another element of texture to the image.  [Artistic honesty disclosure: The Austin skyline is not visible from the Lake Travis High School baseball diamond…I added it in post in case that wasn’t abundantly clear].  Incidentally, the skyline layer is the same image which the Red Cross of Central Texas uses on their website.

I used 4 curves layers: A general s-curve, a darkening curve for parts of the image (luminosity blend mode), a lightening curve for a very small piece (could’ve just used the dodge tool), and another darkening curve for adding some vignette.

One last change I considered was adding a ball in-flight to the first baseman.  I decided against for now because the only positions for the ball that I thought were natural seemed to unbalance the whole image IMO.

Scratched copper texture is from Tymcode

Office texture is from ArtByChrysti

Scratched rainbow texture is from Pink Sherbet Photography

Paper texture is from Visualogist

Locked Door, Seaholm Power Plant

Posting a couple HDRs from the recent HDR Mafia photo shoot at Seaholm Power Plant.  This door was at the top of a stairwell where I had hoped to gain access to the crane in the main turbine room.  The crane door was locked as was this door which would have provided roof access.  Fortunately we had access to the roof via other means but we never did get access to the crane.

Locked Door, Color, Seaholm Power Plant 14mm, f/22, ???s, ISO 100

Both images were tonemapped in Photomatix (6-7 exposures…don’t remember) then processed mostly via curves in Photoshop.  I probably could have used only two exposures and gotten all the image information but I didn’t bother playing with that.  The black and white version was simply a matter of adding a B+W adjustment layer to the image and tweaking the red and yellow adjustment.  The color image used a series of masked curves, some of which were only applied to the red and/or blue channels.  The lighting was actually relatively flat in the original exposures and I used curves to bring out the shadows more.  The starburst in the keyhole was obtained by using an aperture of f/22.

Locked Door, B+W, Seaholm Power Plant 14mm, f/22, ???s, ISO 100

I’m not sure whether I like the color or B+W version better.

Neighborhood Sunrise

Neighborhood Sunrise

While out running in our neighborhood last week I witnessed an awesome sunrise.  There were low, fast-moving clouds on the eastern horizon which made for lots of color as the sun came up.  I wasn’t carrying my camera of course so I couldn’t capture this particular event.  The next morning I noticed that there were a few clouds on the horizon again as the sun was rising so I popped out of the house with the camera — the first time in weeks I’ve been out to shoot anything at all.  I captured only two scenes (several bracketed exposures of each though).

I initially started out to make a simple HDR with 6 exposures (-4 through +1 in single-stop increments) so I did the usual tonemapping in Photomatix, then brought that into CS4 with some original exposures.  I replaced the sky — not for noise reasons but rather due to the blur that had been introduced by the fast-moving clouds.  After that, I did some of the usual curves/levels/sharpness and was “finished”.  I liked it OK…the lens flare was cool, sunburst was nice…I would enjoy seeing it pop up on my desktop screensaver for sure.

On a whim I started playing around with some textures.  I only had 5-6 textures on-hand and wasn’t willing to spend a bunch of time searching for others.  Long story made short, I ended up using a canvas texture and another random, blotchy texture.  Most of my experimentation involved trying out different layer blending modes and opacities.  I used “linear light” for one texture and overlay for the other.  I offer you my free texture tutorial: “Play around until you like something”.

I also over-saturated the colors somewhat.  I don’t normally add any saturation but I thought it fit the painterly effect I was going for.

When I witness a scene like this I can’t help but think of how amazing God’s creation is.  My kids and thought Ps 113:3 fit this one: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!”.