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October 18 2013

08:00

45 Photo Editing Tutorials for Photoshop

This post was originally published a few years ago, and since that time many of the tutorials that were featured in the post are no longer online. So we’ve revamped the article with a fresh selection of tutorials, some old and some new, that should prove to be very helpful.

Photoshop allows designers and photographers to improve photos in countless ways. Some photos are edited in a subtle way that the viewer may not even notice unless it is side-by-side with the original photo, and others are edited in more drastic ways. The good news is that there is a tutorial for just about anything you would want to do in Photoshop. Here you’ll find a collection of 45 different tutorials that teach the art of photo editing.

Telling Stories with Shadows

Telling Stories with Shadows

Create Vignette Effects with the Radial Filter in Photoshop CC

Create Vignette Effects with the Radial Filter in Photoshop CC

Water Reflection Effect in Photoshop CS6

Water Reflection Effect in Photoshop CS6

How to Add Reflections to Sunglesses with Photoshop

How to Add Reflections to Sunglesses with Photoshop

Learn How to Remove a Person from a Photo

Learn How to Remove a Person from a Photo

Remove a Person and Recreate a Busy Background Using the Clone Tool

Remove a Person and Recreate a Busy Background Using the Clone Tool

Black & White Adjustment

Black & White Adjustment

How to Replace a Sky Using Photoshop

How to Replace a Sky Using Photoshop

Dark Grunge Photo Effect

Dark Grunge Photo Effect

Vintage Cross Processed Photo Effect in Photoshop

Vintage Cross Processed Photo Effect in Photoshop

Six Ways to Create a Vignette in Photoshop

Six Ways to Create a Vignette in Photoshop

Creating Fashion Contrast Photo Effect

Creating Fashion Contrast Photo Effect

Handy Techniques for Cutting Out Hair in Photoshop

Handy Techniques for Cutting Out Hair in Photoshop

How to Reduce Digital Noise in a Photograph

How to Reduce Digital Noise in a Photograph

Professional Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

Professional Sharpening Techniques in Photoshop

Apply a Color Effect to a Photo

Apply a Color Effect to a Photo

Create a Stunning High Key Portrait Photo

Create a Stunning High Key Portrait Photo

Old Fashioned, Hand-Tinted Photo Effect with Photoshop

Old Fashioned, Hand-Tinted Photo Effect with Photoshop

Ghosting an Image with Photoshop

Ghosting an Image with Photoshop

Gritty HDR

Gritty HDR

Star Diffusion

Star Diffusion

Selective Sepia

Selective Sepia

How to Create a Split Tone Effect in Photoshop

How to Create a Split Tone Effect in Photoshop

Hot & Fiery Photo Effect

Hot & Fiery Photo Effect

Turn a Photo Into a Collage of Polaroids with Photoshop

Turn a Photo Into a Collage of Polaroids with Photoshop

Pop Art

Pop Art

Vector Art with Photoshop

Vector Art with Photoshop

High-Key B&W Portrait Effect

High-Key B&W Portrait Effect

Coloring Effects

Coloring Effects

Bourne Ultimatum Color and Motion Blur Effect with Photoshop

Bourne Ultimatum Color and Motion Blur Effect with Photoshop

Selecting and Extracting Hair

Selecting and Extracting Hair

Phoenix Hair Effect

Phoenix Hair Effect

Basic Photo Editing Tutorial

Basic Photo Editing Tutorial

Edgy Style Photo Treatment

Edgy Style Photo Treatment

Perform Laser Eye Surgery on a Photo with Photoshop

Perform Laser Eye Surgery on a Photo with Photoshop

Make Eyelashes Thicker

Make Eyelashes Thicker

5 Second Eye Enhancement

5 Second Eye Enhancement

Artistic Sepia/Colorizing Effect

Artistic Sepia/Colorizing Effect

Boosting Contrast and Color with the Luminosity Mask in Photoshop

Boosting Contrast and Color with the Luminosity Mask in Photoshop

Enhance Your Image with Selective Color Adjustments

Enhance Your Image with Selective Color Adjustments

Applying a Realistic Tattoo

Applying a Realistic Tattoo

Add Dynamic Lighting to a Flat Photograph

Add Dynamic Lighting to a Flat Photograph

Add Dramatic Rain to a Photo in Photoshop

Add Dramatic Rain to a Photo in Photoshop

Creating Selective Contrast in Photoshop

Creating Selective Contrast in Photoshop

Realistic Makeup Application in Photoshop

Realistic Makeup Application in Photoshop

For more Photoshop tutorials see:

November 29 2010

12:46

25 Photoshop Tutorials for Stunning Photo Manipulations

Photoshop allows talented designers to do amazing things with photo manipulation. Fortunately, there are plenty of quality tutorials available that teach a variety of techniques. In this post we’ll feature 25 tutorials from a variety of websites and blogs. If you see something you like, click through and follow the tutorial to improve your own skills.

You may also be interested in 30 Photo Manipulation Tutorials for Photoshop.

Melting Girl in Photoshop

Melting Girl in Photoshop

Create a Nature-Inspired Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

Create a Nature-Inspired Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

The Creation of ‘The Choice’

The Creation of 'The Choice'

Dazzling Dance Photo Manipulation

Dazzling Dance Photo Manipulation

How to Create a Fantasy Photomanipulation in Photoshop

How to Create a Fantasy Photomanipulation in Photoshop

How to Create a Melancholy Model Photo Manipulation

How to Create a Melancholy Model Photo Manipulation

Blend a Planet Transparently into a Photo Manipulation

Blend a Planet Transparently into a Photo Manipulation

Creating a Sexy Mechanical Pinup in Photoshop

Creating a Sexy Mechanical Pinup in Photoshop

Create a Fantasy Horror Scene in Photoshop

Create a Fantasy Horror Scene in Photoshop

The Making of ‘Space Jumper’ Photo Manipulation

The Making of 'Space Jumper' Photo Manipulation

Design an Awesome Paint Splattered Dancer

Design an Awesome Paint Splattered Dancer

Create an Abstract Cloud Jumper in Photoshop

Create an Abstract Cloud Jumper in Photoshop

Design a Surreal Desert Scene in Photoshop

Design a Surreal Desert Scene in Photoshop

Create a Street Fighter Inspired Composition in Photoshop

Create a Street Fighter Inspired Composition in Photoshop

Create a Greek Sculpture Using Stock Photography and Photoshop

Create a Greek Sculpture Using Stock Photography and Photoshop

How to Create a Nuclear Disaster Landscape

How to Create a Nuclear Disaster Landscape

Create a Beautiful and Dramatic Scene with Photo Manipulations

Create a Beautiful and Dramatic Scene with Photo Manipulations

Create a Devastating Twister with Photo Manipulation Techniques

Create a Devastating Twister with Photo Manipulation Techniques

Dark Halloween Manipulation Tutorial

Dark Halloween Manipulation Tutorial

Manipulation Tutorial

Manipulation Tutorial

Design Surreal Composition Fallen Angel’s Dream Fly

Design Surreal Composition Fallen Angel's Dream Fly

Create a Dark and Surreal Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

Create a Dark and Surreal Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

How to Create a Flaming Manipulation in Photoshop

How to Create a Flaming Manipulation in Photoshop

Create an Intense Apocalyptic Photo Manipulation

Create an Intense Apocalyptic Photo Manipulation

Create a Half Man Half Horse Centaur in Photoshop

Create a Half Man Half Horse Centaur in Photoshop<

For more Photoshop tutorials please see:

August 18 2010

13:00

Correcting Exposure with the Shadows & Highlights Tool

Bring out the best in your photos by correcting exposure problems using the Shadows & Highlights tool.

Introduction

Today we’re going to take a look at an incredibly useful, amazing tool: the Shadow/Highlight adjustment.

Often when taking pictures, it’s difficult, sometimes impossible, to get perfect exposure on everything within the frame. Especially shooting outdoors with a bright sun and shadows on the landscape you’re bound to over—or under-expose parts of your shot. The Shadow/Highlight adjustment is another great tool to help you maximize the potential of your shots.

Let’s take a look.

Shadows/Highlights Overview

Image Description

First, this tool doesn’t come as an adjustment layer yet, so you should duplicate your image: Ctrl+J (Win) or Command+J (Mac). This way you’ll be able to work on the image and, if you need, revert back any time.

So, we have our duplicate. Let’s get to work on it.

Second, open up the Shadows/Highlights adjustment: Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights…

Image Description

At the bottom of the adjustment window you’ll see a Show More Options checkbox. Make sure it’s checked. The additional options may look a little complex to first-time users, but we’ll go over them now. And trust me, you’ll appreciate the controls.

Our third step is optional. This is what suits me. There are default values set that come with Photoshop. These are unnecessary as you’ll use different values for each image you process. I like to start my work with a clean slate so I suggest to set the Amount, Tonal Width, and Radius for both the Shadows and Highlights to 0 (all the way to the left). Set the Color Correction and Midtone Contrast in the Adjustments box to 0 (that’s in the center). Next, hit the button at the bottom, Save as Defaults. Now every time you open Shadows/Highlights you’ll have it set with no changes to the image.

Amount, Tonal Width, and Radius

You should see three sliders within both the Shadows and Highlights sections. We’re going to work with the Shadows sliders first.

Image Description

Amount

Pretty self explanatory—this is how much you’ll affect the image. (It’s also the lone visible slider when the Show More Options checkbox is not selected.) This is where you’ll lighten the shadows or darken the highlights respectively in the Shadow or Highlight sections. This slider paints with a wide brush. I doubt you’d ever want to use it alone. We’ll refine it with the next two sliders.

Image Description

Tonal Width

Here we define how much of the tonal range will be affected. Leaving the slider closer to 0% will mean only the darkest of the dark shadows will be affected. Increasing the percentage, sliding to the right, will start to affect more of the midtones.

Image Description

Radius

The radius slider will determine how the adjusted areas blend with the rest of the image. You’ll want to input a value above 0px—if not it’ll leave the image looking a little grey and washed-out. You’ll see how this slider really affects the image quite nicely. Values from 3-15px, more or less, add real crispness—a nice harshness—to the image. This look I really like. Around 20px and above the effect blends or blurs much more discreetly in the image. The higher you go, the more it blends.

Note

You may find, as I have, that you can’t really perfect each slider alone. The way I usually do it is I push the Amount slider to around 35%; push the Tonal Width slider up; and then push the Radius slider to around 5px. Then I can see what the adjustment is doing and I refine it from there.

Highlights

These work the same as the Shadow sliders—just instead of decreasing shadows they decrease the highlights. If you do find you need to work on the highlights, take it easy: Any work you do here has a large impact on the overall contrast. I find that I don’t often use the Highlight section. Find out what works for you.

Adjustments

We’ve come to the last two sliders: Color Correction and Midtone Contrast. The Color Correction slider should really be called a Saturation slider as its sole function is to increase/decrease saturation. I use it to readjust the saturation to what it looked like before the Shadows/Highlights adjustment. Further saturation adjustments I prefer to do with an adjustment layer that can be altered more easily.

The Midtone Contrast slider can be used to increase or decrease the midtone contrast. Nice and simple: aptly named this time. Again, I do the same as I did with the Color Correction slider, this time returning the contrast to how it looked originally.

Rollover Image

In the picture above, after making adjustments to Shadows, I readjusted the Color Correction and Midtone Contrast sliders to make the leaf (circled) look as similar to the original as possible. (No changes were made in the Highlight section.) After correcting the Shadows/Highlights, I can work more specificially on the Hue/Saturation or customize the image with other adjustment layers.

Examples

Image adjustments are up to the editor’s preference. So there’s no right or wrong way to do this. Nonetheless, here are a couple examples of pictures optimized with Shadows/Highlights. I’ll put my settings alongside the images, so you can see what I did. Try using this tool yourself. I think you’ll find that this is a great tool for optimizing your images and making little fixes that may make the difference between a good picture and a great one.

Rollover Image

Rollover Image

Rollover Image


May 31 2010

13:00

Basic Portrait Retouching in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I’ll show you several quick and easy techniques for retouching portraits using Adobe Photoshop.

There are entire books written on retouching portraits—many books in fact. This tutorial does not aim to substitute all that information. Rather than spending a lot of time on many individual steps in retouching photos, this tutorial aims to provide a quick overview of several techniques.

We’ll be working with this photograph:

We won’t focus on theory so much as applying different tools from here on out.

Arrange your workspace

Image Description

For the most efficient workflow, it may be worth your while to get in the habit of arranging your workspace. Photoshop has many palettes, but we are only going to use the toolbar palette, Layers and the history palette.

You can save your workspace as a preset for quick editing in future jobs.

History log

Go to Edit->Preferences-> Performance and set the history states to 50.This will give you more flexibility as you can go back and see your progress and/or improve any of the techniques you have used.

If you find Photoshop running much slower, revert to your default setting.

Molding Features with Liquify

The Liquify tools are incredibly useful in molding features without destroying too much information. Watch how I apply it do several areas of the model below:

Image Description

First I open the Liquify panel ( Filter->Liquify ), choose  the Forward Warp Toolfwt and use it to push the jaw a bit inward. I repeat this process with the neck. For areas of the models face I want to enlarge, I can use the bloat toolbloat and if I want to reduce the size of something, I can use the pucker toolpucker.

Image Description

These are the settings I’ve used for the Forward Warp Tool. The brush size can vary of course depending on the region you want to modify.For the jaw region I’ve used a brush size of 238 and for the lips somewhere around 130.However,don’t take these values for granted.

Each photo, and each part of a photo will need careful consideration in tool settings. Since this is a larger photo, we use larger brush sizes.

Cleaning Up Skin with the Clone Stamp

Image Description

There are many ways to clean skin in Photoshop. Here is a super easy way using the Clone Stamp Tool.

Image Description

Zoom in to a level where you are comfortable and you can see the details. Now look for a region of skin with a similar color range to the one you want to fix. Usually I choose an area which is close to the part I want to fix ( fig2 ) . Choose the Clone Stamp tool and select the source region (hold alt to select it ) and set the opacity to somewhere around 30%. The key is to use low opacity values but many , many strokes rather than few strokes and a high opacity value. By using this technique , you will preserve the details and not wash out the skin.

I have used the Clone Stamp tool to get rid of the wrinkles , especially those near the corner of the lips and the ones around the bottom part of the eyes. Be careful not to overuse the Clone Stamp tool or else you will lose the skin texture and create flat planes on your face. Fake looking skin is a common error in the practice of retouching photos.

Tip: create snapshots to keep track of your progress and also zoom out often to have an overview of what you have done so far.

Get rid of Wrinkles with the Healing brush

Image Description

Use the Healing Spot Brush to correct small skin issues like independent blisters or wrinkles. Set the type brush to proximity match for more accurate results.

We’re not going to dive into any theory or arguments over best practices here, but be sure to keep in mind that wrinkles are natural in skin. Don’t get rid of too much.

Quick Tips for Eyes & lips

Image Description

The Dodge and Burn tools are useful in emphasizing the eyes and lips in a portrait. I Select the Dodge tool, set the exposure to 12% and “dodge” the areas indicated in Fig4. This will lighten the colors. To create contrast ( thus we’ll create emphasis on the eyes) we need to use the Burn tool with an exposure of 12%. "Burn" the pupil, the outer part of the iris, the eyelashes and the area under the eyebrows.

Image Description

Also, I use the Dodge tool to accentuate the highlights from the lips (Fig5.)

Hair Styling

Image Description

Taking care of rebellious hairs can be achieved with the Clone Stamp Tool once more.

I use the Clone Stamp Tool in this portrait to get rid of forehead hair and some of the hair near the model’s ear.

Adding a Touch of Contrast with Levels

Image Description

Sometimes, you may wish to add just a bit more contrast to your portrait shot. This can be done very quickly with Levels.

Go to Image->Adjustments-> Levels ( CTRL + L ) and set the values as seen in the pic above. This darkens the shadows and boosts the highlights.

For more details on basic lighting and color adjustments, you may wish to read Tutorial9’s posts on Curves in Photoshop and the Basics of Color Correction, both by Owen James.

Before & After

You can take a closer look yourself from the source files if you wish. Good luck!

Download Source Files


May 24 2010

02:35

Learn Photo Editing: Tutorials for Designers and Photographers

Photoshop provides designers and photographers with the opportunity professionally edit photos for the best results. While there are almost endless possibilities for photo editing with Photoshop, there can be a lot to learn.

Here we will present links to various tutorials on a wide range of topics related to photo editing. If you’re looking to learn more about a specific type of editing or technique, or if you are just getting started with photo editing, this post should serve as an excellent resource for you. The tutorials listed below are separated into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

For more on photo editing please see:

Eyes:

Changing Eye Color in an Image

Changing Eye Color in an Image

Shadowy, Sultry Eyes

Shadowy, Sultry Eyes

Skin:

Hair:

Change Hair Color in Photoshop

Change Hair Color in Photoshop

Professional Photo Retouching Video Tutorial: Hair

Professional Photo Retouching Video Tutorial: Hair

Masking Hair in Photoshop CS3 (video)

Masking Hair in Photoshop CS3 (video)

Nose:

Easy Digital Nose Job in Photoshop

Easy Digital Nose Job in Photoshop

Teeth:

Whitening Teeth the Professional Way

Whitening Teeth the Professional Way

General Retouching:

Basic Photo Editing Tutorial

Basic Photo Editing Tutorial

Lighting:

Create a Colorful Portrait with Easy Lighting Effects

Create a Colorful Portrait with Easy Lighting Effects

Darklight Photo Manipulation

Darklight Photo Manipulation

Working with Levels in Photoshop:

Improving Image Tone with Levels in Photoshop

Improving Image Tone with Levels in Photoshop

Working with Curves in Photoshop:

How to Use Curves in Photoshop

How to Use Curves in Photoshop

Color Correction with the Curves Adjustment Tool

Color Correction with the Curves Adjustment Tool

Working with Adjustment Layers in Photoshop:

A Basic Guide to Photoshop CS4 Adjustment Layers

A Basic Guide to Photoshop CS4 Adjustment Layers

Working with Layer Masks in Photoshop:

Photoshop 101: How to Use Layer Masks

Photoshop 101: How to Use Layer Masks

Photoshop’s Blend Modes:

Photoshop’s Five Essential Blend Modes for Photo Editing

Photoshop's Five Essential Blend Modes for Photo Editing

Working with Tones in Photoshop:

Photoshop CS4 Tone Correction (video)

Photoshop CS4 Tone Correction (video)

Working with Backgrounds:

How to Quickly and Easily Remove a Background in Photoshop

How to Quickly and Easily Remove a Background in Photoshop

Combining Photos:

Blending Two Images Seamlessly with Photoshop

Blending Two Images Seamlessly with Photoshop

Colors:

Color Correction Basics in Photoshop

Color Correction Basics in Photoshop

Retro Colors

Retro Colors

Advanced Color Correction Tutorial that will Knock Your Socks Off

Advanced Color Correction Tutorial that will Knock Your Socks Off

Precision Color Control in Photoshop

Precision Color Control in Photoshop

Return Colors to a Black and White Photo

Return Colors to a Black and White Photo

Photo Restoration:

Professional Photograph Restoration Workflow

Professional Photograph Restoration Workflow

HDR:

Achieve HDR Style Effects Using Photoshop and the Lucis Art Filter

Achieve HDR Style Effects Using Photoshop and the Lucis Art Filter

Easy HDR Technique

Easy HDR Technique

Selections and Extractions in Photoshop:

Handy Techniques for Cutting Out Hair in Photoshop

Handy Techniques for Cutting Out Hair in Photoshop

For more learning resources please see:

April 12 2010

20:15

30 of the Best Websites for Online Photo Editing

Designers and photographers have a number of options when it comes to photo editing. Of course, Photoshop is the most popular software, but there are a number of websites that allow you to edit photos online. Depending on your needs, the full version of Photoshop may not be necessary. In this post we’ll look at 31 options for editing photos online.

Leading Options for Free Online Photo Editing:

Picnik
With Picnik you can grab photos from your Flickr, Photobucket or Facebook account easily. Picnik includes advanced controls and effects in addition to basic options like cropping and re-sizing. A premium version is also available with more features for a little over $2 per month.

Picnik

Photoshop
Adobe offers a free, online version of Photoshop with scaled down features that include those needed for basic photo editing. You can crop and re-size, apply basic touch ups, work with color, or edit the photo by adjusting the sharpness, focus and more.

Photoshop

Phoenix (from Aviary)
Aviary provides a suite of related tools, including an image editor named Phoenix. Phoenix includes basic and advanced editing tools and features. The interface is easy to use and resembles that of a stripped down version of Photoshop.

Phoenix (from Aviary)

FotoFlexer
With FotoFlexer you can get photos directly from your Flickr, Photobucket or Facebook account. It allows you to re-touch photos, create various effects, work with shapes and text, and more, including some advanced features.

FotoFlexer

Pixlr
Pixlr offers Pixlr express for basic editing like cropping and re-sizing, adjustments, and photo effects. The full version includes a lot more functionality that allows you to create an item from scratch or edit an existing photo. The full version works similar to Photoshop or GIMP with a lot of different tools that can be used.

Pixlr

Splashup
Splashup provides a nice interface and a number of tools and features. You can start from scracth, upload a photo from your computer, enter a URL, or get a photo from Flickr, Facebook and others. Splashup offers a surprising number of options for a free online image editor.

Splashup

Pixenate
Get started with Pixenate by uploading a photo, entering a URL, or get one from your favorite photo sharing website. It includes basic editing features like cropping and re-sizing, brightness adjustments, and drawing lines on photos.

Pixenate

Picture2Life
With Picture2Life you can perform basic edits, create collages, and share your photos. The editing features are very limited.

Picture2Life

Dr. Pic
Dr. Pic allows you to get started by uploading an image or entering a URL. It includes basic functionality like cropping and re-sizing, brightness and contrast adjustments, sharpen, adding text, and a little more.

Dr. Pic

Lunapic
Lunapic is a feature-rich online image editor. You can work with existing photos or create new images. There are tons of effects to choose from, and many adjustments that can be made, plus drawing tools, anitmation, and more.

Lunapic

Other Options:

Phixr
You can start using Phixr by uploading a photo from your computer or by entering the URL of an image, or pull it from a photo sharing site. You can do basic things like crop or re-size, or use the other options like red eye removal, camera and lense effects, blur, and more.

Phixr

Free Online Photo Editor
Get started by uploading a photo or entering the URL of a photo. Free Online Photo Editor includes basic functionality like cropping, re-sizing, brightness/contrast adjustments, working with text, and a number of effects.

Free Online Photo Editor

PiZap
PiZap helps you to have some fun with your photos by adding speech bubbles, cutout faces, effects and more.

PiZap

FlauntR
With FlauntR you’ll need to register as a user before editing photos. It includes fetaures like one-click effects and a profile image creator for over 30 social networks.

FlauntR

Pho.to
With Pho.to you will upload a photo from your computer or enter a URL for the photo. It offers options like cropping and re-sizing, color enhancement, and several artistic effects. You can also automatically create a caricature from a photo.

Pho.to

OnlinePhotoTool.com
With Online Photo Tool you can do basic editing, and images can be saved if you register. Functionality includes re-size, crop, add text, sharpen, rotate, flip, colour balance, saturation, levels, and more.

OnlinePhotoTool.com

MyImager
MyImager allows you to work with an existing photo via upload or a URL. Additionally, you can create a new image and work with the tools that are available, including a number of adjustments and effects, drawing tools, and more.

MyImager

Pixer.us
Pixer.us allows you to upload a photo from your computer, and perform basic editing and touch ups. You can crop and re-size, plus adjust things like brightness and contrast, saturation, sharpness and more.

Pixer.us

BeFunky
BeFunky includes 147 effects that can be done with one click. In addition to the one-click effects you can perform basic tasks like cropping and re-sizing. A premium account is available for $9.95 per month that allows for priority processing, photo storage and more.

BeFunky

Photo505
With Photo505 you can upload a photo and choose from a number of pre-made effects and filters to apply to your photo.

Photo505

BigHugeLabs
With BigHugeLabs you can quickly create things like CD covers, pop art posters, magazine covers, billboards and more using your own photos.

BigHugeLabs

Poladroid
Poladroid allows you to turn your photos into polaroid-style photos. You must download the Poladroid app before working with any photos.

Poladroid

Pixisnap
With Pixisnap you can create mosaics or polaroid tiles out of your images.

Pixisnap

Photovisi
Photovisi helps you to make attractive collages from your photos.

Photovisi

Image Chef
Image Chef includes a few different types of tools. You can use the sketchpad to create your own work, or you can create word mosaics, photo frames and more.

Image Chef

72photos
72Photos allows you to do basic edits and store your photos online. A free account includes 200 MB of disk space and 10GB of bandwidth, or the pro account is available for $14.95 per year.

72photos

FixPicture
With Fix Picture you can do basic editing like cropping and re-sizing. Effects are also available for focus, contrast, sharpness, and more.

FixPicture

PicTreat
Pic Treat is a free tool that automatically retouches photos, including skin smoothing and red-eye removal.

PicTreat

AnyMaking
AnyMaking includes basic functionality like cropping, re-sizing, drop shadows and refelections. It also makes it easy to add fun effects to photos, like the retro comic effect, cartoon effect, wanted poster, and more.

AnyMaking

WriteOnIt
Write On It makes it easy to create photomontages, cards, magzine covers, and more. Upload your photo and create your own effects on the photo.

WriteOnIt

For photo editing photoshop tutorials please see:

March 12 2010

14:00

Color Correction Basics in Photoshop

Have you wanted to learn more about color correction? The focus of this tutorial is to help you delve deeper into color correcting to up the production value of your images. Learn a few simple techniques while creating.

I will be using Photoshop CS4 for this tutorial, but all of the features I will use are available in previous versions of Photoshop. Or in any decent photo-editing software.

Primary Color Correction

In this tutorial, our work will be primary color correction. “Primary color correction affects the whole image, utilizing control over intensities of red, green, blue, gamma (mid tones), shadows (blacks) and highlights (whites).”

Overview

Before we begin, you’ll want to be sure that you have at least a novice understanding of the following tools in your photo-editing program: Curves, Hue/Saturation, Photo Filter, and Black & White adjustment layer.

Quick Tip

Keep effects on adjustment or separate layers to enable quick alteration or removal at any time during the color correction process.

Monochrome and Sepia

Image Description

A monochromatic image is one whose range of colors consists of shades of a single color or hue.

Step 1: First, let’s make our image grayscale. There are various ways to do this, but we’ll look at just two:

I think the best way is to use the Black & White adjustment layer. (This can be found at the bottom of the Layers toolbox.) What is so great about this adjustment layer is the ability to control the luminance of the 6 primary and secondary colors – red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow with the sliders. This is a very useful tool for fine-tuning the the tonal range of your image.

However, the Black & White adjustment layer is only in Photoshop CS3 and newer. So, if you’re using an older version, skip to the next step.

Image Description

Step 2: Apply the Hue & Saturation adjustment layer. Click the Colorize checkbox and this will automatically desaturate and tint your image. However, the Hue is wrong. So set the Hue to 35. Now it’s starting to look right.

Step 3: Lastly, perfect color brightness of your image with the sliders in the Black & White adjustment layer. Use the eyedropper tool that comes with the filter to select the part of the image you want to alter and it will hightlight which color is in range. But be careful not to drastically change the colors or you’ll be in danger of posterizing the image.

Usually changes solely in the Black & White filter are not enough to correct the image; so apply a Curves adjustment layer on top and get your image looking right. (It’s best to do these steps last – after your color adjustments – so that you’re seeing and effecting the color-corrected spectrum.)

And, for sepia, you’re done.

Rollover Image

In addition, using other monochromatic color schemes are done the same way. Instead of setting the Hue to 35, move the slider to the color of your choice. You also could up the Saturation a bit to make the colors pop. (For the image below, I set the Hue to 295 and the Saturation to 35.)

Rollover Image

Bleach Bypass

A popular image treatment is the bleach bypass. In actual film-developing, this means skipping the bleaching process. This leaves a silver tint on the photograph, as if the black-and-white and color image had been combined. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Image Description

Step 1: Apply the Black & White adjustment layer once again to your image. (Or desaturate with a Hue & Saturation adjustment layer.) Then, the only alteration we need to do is in the blending mode: change it from Normal to Overlay.

Step 2: Apply a Curves adjustment layer on top. A characteristic of most bleach-bypassed images is increased contrast. So add a contrast curve to your image. But be careful. Adjustments should be minor at this stage because the image has a lot of contrast. Make sure you’re not overexposing in the highlights or underexposing in the shadows.

Rollover Image

Extra: Often, another characteristic of bleach bypass, along with increased contrast, is graininess. If you like, take this effect a step further by adding some noise: Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Make sure it’s monochromatic.

Quick Color Theory

Before we begin working on our next style, we’re going to talk quickly about color theory.

Take a look at the color wheels below. You’ll notice the three primary colors in our RGB color model: red, green and blue. Then, in between those you’ll notice the secondary colors of CMY: cyan, magenta, and yellow. Secondary colors are formed by the sum of two primary colors: cyan is green + blue, magenta is red + blue, and yellow is red + green. Simple enough.

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The secondary colors are opposite on the color wheel to the primary colors. Hence:

Red – Cyan

Green – Magenta

Blue – Yellow

Another six tertiary colors are created by mixing primary and secondary colors. But we don’t need to get into that in detail right now.

The primary and secondary colors, and their relation to each other, are important for us to know. In the Curves adjustment layer you can effect color in the red, green, and blue channels separately. So, for instance, any adjustments upward of the diagonal line in the red channel increase the red in the image. Lowering, below the diagonal line, increases the cyan. The other channels are the same: Upward in the green channel, green; lower, magenta. Upward in the blue channel, blue; lower yellow.

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Blockbuster/Fashion Look

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Ok, now that we got that covered, let’s begin. This style is used a lot in big summer movies, such as the Transformer films. It’s also popular in fashion photography.

First off, take a look at the picture above. In an effort to create this look, determine the color hue and tint of the shadows, midtones, and highlights. Most importantly, the shadows and highlights. You’ll notice that the shadows are very bluish and the highlights – mainly the part of the image containing the skin tones – are, well, the color of skin.

This is a complementary color scheme. Meaning the colors used, blue and orange, are opposite each other on the color wheel.

When working with humans in your compositions, you have to take the skin tone into account. You can’t have people turning green, magenta, or blue. That would look odd. Skin will always be between orange, orange-yellow (tertiary), and yellow. Therefore to complement the subject, generally use opposite colors: between cyan, blue or blue-violet (tertiary).

Now that we know this, let’s stylize our photo.

Step 1: Apply a Curves adjustment layer to your image.

Quick Tip

Nearly every colorist starts color correction with the shadows; then the highlights; and lastly the midtones.

Step 2: In the color dropdown menu, change from RGB – which affects the overall brightness and contrast of the image – to blue. We’ll work backwards up the list, starting with blue and ending with RGB.

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What we’ll want to do is bring the lower end of the curves slider up. This will increase the blue in the shadows. Next, to compensate for our first adjustment, we’ll want to decrease the blue in the highlights – taking it towards yellow – so that the skin tones stay closer to being correct.

Step 3: You’ll notice that the image has quite a purple tint to it. This is because the green and red channels are at equal intensity. To get a more blue color you can either go to the green channel and raise the shadows, or go to the red and lower the shadows. But there’s a difference here and you would do well to note it: If you were to raise the green shadows, the image would get slightly lighter and loses contrast. If you lower the red shadows, the image gets darker and gains contrast. The first is subtracting color and the second is adding.

In most cases, you’ll want to go with the option that subtracts, not adds.

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And that’s what we’ll do. Go to the green channel, and bring it up just enough to take the purplish-tint out of the image. This is where you can decide between how much blue-violet or cyan you’d like in your blue-tinted shadows.

Step 4: At this point, you may need to go back to the blue channel and make sure the skin tone looks good. Not too blue and not too yellow. Adjust the highlights and midtones until you’re satisfied.

Step 5: Now we can go to the RGB or master channel. Finalize the luminance and contrast of your image. All I had to do with this image was lower the shadows.

I’m sitting pretty with a great look.

Step 6: Lastly, you can complement your image with one more filter. Increasing the blue in the shadows flooded the image with a bit too much color. Add a Hue & Saturation adjustment layer and drop the saturation to around -10.

The change is ever so slight. But, it’s perfection. And now you’ve got a blockbuster or fashion-style image. Smashing.

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Bronze

Like in the film, 300, you can give your image quite a cool bronze look. This is similar to a sepia effect; however, the image shouldn’t be monochrome. Vibrant colors and those opposite to the bronze tonal region are still visible and actually stand out nicely, while the lights and the darks take on the bronze tint.

Let’s use a picture with more colors and a larger tonal range. It’ll be easier to see what’s happening.

Step 1: Start by applying a Photo Filter adjustment layer to your image. Change the filter color to Sepia and set the density between 90 to 100 percent. Make sure the preserve luminosity box is checked.

Step 2: Add a Hue & Saturation adjustment layer next. Desaturate the image anywhere from -10 to -50. Do what looks good to you.

Step 3: Add that trusty Curves adjustment layer. The bronze-style looks quite good with extra contrast. Make a nice contrast curve.

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Step 4: An optional step, one which I think looks good, is to add a little diffusion. You can achieve this by duplicating your image layer (and keeping it under the effects). Next, apply a gaussian blur to the layer. Do not blur too much! If you put too much blur, your final image will look like it’s from a dream sequence – very soft.

For this picture, I’m using a 2.5 pixel blur.

Change the blending mode of the blurred image to Overlay. You’ll notice how contrasty your image gets. To keep it from getting too soft, change the fill anywhere from 25 to 50 percent. Then, compensate for the contrast accordingly with your curves layer.

That’s it for the big, bold, bronze look. This kid is vicious on his scooter. Watch out.

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Conclusion

Bear in mind that there are many ways to achieve these looks and styles. There is no correct process or proceedure. Different colorists use different tools. To each his own. Find out what works best for you.

Also, remember that each picture you add these effects to will react differently. You shouldn’t expect these settings – or one specific procedure – to work equally well on all your pictures. It will vary due to the levels or amounts of shadows, highlights, colors, and contrast, etc.

The tendency can be to go overboard with effects. Do your best to use them sparingly and appropriately. When in doubt, less is more.

Go out and take your knowledge further by emulating styles and effects you see in magazines, films, or on the web. That’s a great way to learn. Have fun.


March 09 2010

14:00

How To Use Curves in Photoshop

If I were forced to give up all but one image adjustment tool, I would keep curves. Hands down. The curves adjustment tool is an integral part of every professional’s knowledge base and image editing package.

Even if you’ve taken a good photo, chances are it can be improved or it needs to be adjusted to work in a collage or collection. Or even to just to intensify a mood. You can always make a good thing better – and curves is a one-stop-shop way to do that.

With curves you are able to:

  • Adjust the over-all contrast or tonal range
  • Adjust the local contrast or tonal range
  • Adjust the color

Let’s jump in and find out how. It’s simpler than it looks.

Overview

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The idea behind Curves is all about re–mapping values. A pixel starts out at a certain brightness, and you change it to be brighter or darker.

The curves box opens as a straight line because you haven’t made any changes yet. That means that the brightness values before and after are the same. You will effect a change by changing the shape of the curve.

The points from left (bottom) to right (top) affect: blacks, shadows, midtones, highlights, and whites. By altering the position in these regions will affect the corresponding tonal range of your image. Leaving the line in the center will leave the tones unchanged.

You begin altering the brightness values by clicking once somewhere on the line. This will establish a “point”; this point can now be dragged to a different place within the grid, which causes that tonal value to change, either lighter or darker depending on whether you drag it up or down. The reason it’s a curve is so that the change blends smoothly throughout the image. An abrupt change in value can be very noticeable. The increasingly gradual change of the brightness values on either side of the change permit a very smooth and believable adjustment.

It’s important to note, however, that you can’t increase contrast in one region without decreasing it in another. The curves tool redistributes contrast. Therefore think of the image having a contrast allocation or budget and you need to decide how to best spend it.

Also, the curves tool will preserve the tonal hierarchy (unless you use uncommon negative slopes). That means that the brighter parts of the image will stay brighter even after your conversion – just maybe not by the same amount.

Quick Tip

Keep effects on adjustment or separate layers to enable quick alteration or removal at any time during the color correction process. (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves. Or at the bottom of the Layers panel.)

S- and Inverted S-Curves

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The S-Curve and the Inverted S-Curve are two curves most commonly used. The S-Curve adds contrast to the midtones while subtracting from the shadows and highlights. The Inverted S-Curve does the opposite.

Often in photography, it’s difficult to expose your image perfectly. Brightness or darkness in tonal ranges can benefit from optimization. The S-Curve is often useful in these cases – not to mention, quick and simple.

Empty Tonal Range and Histograms

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One very useful and important function of curves is to correct empty tonal ranges – in the histogram edges (blacks and whites) or gaps in between (shadows, midtones, and highlights). An under exposed image can be helped by pulling in the black and white points to correct the exposure.

Or if there are gaps in between the tonal peaks you can decrease contrast in specific parts of your image – thereby freeing up the contrast to be used in the more visible areas of your image.

Clipped Highlights

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Images containing a bright light source, such as the sun, can often be harsh or posterized (also called color banding). Posterization of an image entails conversion of a continuous gradation of tone to several regions of fewer tones, with abrupt changes from one tone to another. This can create an unrealistic look, and often a smoother transition to white is preferred.

Correcting Color Balance

All curves thus far have been applied to RGB values of luminosity. But they can also be used on individual color channels to correct color casts in specific tonal regions. Often the color in an image is correctly balanced, but due to reflection or a light source with a varying temperature or color, you may see unwanted tints in a tonal region. Changing the white balance or adjusting the overall color would inadvertently harm the other tones. So we can selectively increase or decrease the amount of a color cast in the red, green, and blue channels to achieve perfect balance.

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Any adjustments upward of the diagonal line in the red channel increase the red in the image. Lowering, below the diagonal line, increases the cyan. The other channels are the same: Upward in the green channel, green; lower, magenta. Upward in the blue channel, blue; lower yellow.

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RGB color images should be thought of as being comprised of a composite channel and three grayscale channels containing the values of the three colors – red, green and blue. This is shown in the example above of the red on the left, green in the middle, and blue on the right.

Window > Channels to see this on your image.

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You can see in the image above that there is a slight blueish cast in the color tone. Not to mention, the image is slightly washed out (improperly exposed).

As you can see, the sky is already quite white, so we won’t want to effect the highlights and above. By lowering the curve in the midtones and shadows, without effecting the highlights, we solve the exposure problem. Then we’ll get rid of the blue color cast: By lowering the blue in the low end, we eliminate the problem and the gowns go to black – as they should be.

Note

If precise color adjustments aren’t required, simple color balance correction might be easier (Image > Adjustments > Color Balance).

Blending Modes

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Also, curves adjustment layers (Layer>New Adjustment Layer> Curves) can be set to make curves only apply to a channel – such as Color and/or Luminosity – which allows for further, varied control. Another benefit is that it can make your adjustments more subtle through use of the opacity controls for the layer.

Notes

Practice makes perfect. The more you use the tools and techniques available to you the better you’ll get, improve your photography, and have fun.

Here are some things to remember when using the curves tool:

  • Minimize use of the curves tool, as anything which stretches the image histogram increases the possibility posterization.
  • Avoid the use of the curves tool on an already altered image.
  • Perform curves on 16-bit images when possible. (Image > Mode > 16 Bits/Channel)
  • For extreme levels of color correction, consider applying curves using LAB mode.


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