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Posts in the Tutorials category:

Masking Your Photos

Posted on October 27, 2014

We’ve been developing (and using) masking tools for a long time. Some of you may remember Mask Pro, which was a plug-in for Adobe® Photoshop® and more recently, Perfect Mask. Perfect Mask was basically a modern version of Mask Pro. Both tools were great for creating complex masks (hair, smoke, or clouds), but the technology was dated.

With fewer photographers using Photoshop and sticking with programs like Adobe Lightroom®, it made sense for us to rethink masking and make it easier for photographers. The traditional way of masking with those tools felt old and tired. It wasn’t how we think of masking as photographers today. The timing was right to develop new technologies and means for creating great masks.

Masking is a technique or technology we use to solve many problems. Rarely is creating a mask the end goal of masking. You use masking to combine images and exposures, swap heads, replace skies and add effects to portions of a photo. In the past, to get a great mask you would go to a dedicated module (Perfect Mask), then take the resulting layer and mask into another module like Perfect Layers or Perfect Effects to finish the job. It was too complicated.

maskingleavesIn Perfect Photo Suite 9, we wanted to give you ability to create great masks where you need them, inside of the tools where you utilize them. We took the best tools from Perfect Mask, improved them, and added them to Perfect Layers and Perfect Effects. Now you can adjust your background layers while masking in Perfect Layers. You can also selectively apply effects in Perfect Effects with more precision than ever before. You no longer need to do all your masking in one place and then send yours masks to the next module.

Perfect Inspiration: Creating a Fine Art Black & White Flower Photo with Dan Harlacher

Posted on April 18, 2014

DSCF2278It rains a lot here in the Pacific Northwest. There are several months in the winter that can dampen the spirit of a photographer. My solution to this is to photograph flowers. It keeps your eye in tune and allows you to experiment with light in new and fun ways. One of my favorite challenges is to avoid using any fancy studio lights and use unexpected light sources like flashlights and table lamps instead. You can get away with “lighting murder” if you will in modern digital photography. You can use long exposures for low-light and remove any unwanted color cast in a click. The only special equipment you need is a tripod, which is essential. Since flowers are small you don’t need big backgrounds or light modifiers. I just use the walls in my house or sheets of paper from the craft store.

In this video I’ll demonstrate how to process this image from an out-of-the-camera to a finished fine-art black and white. The only light source in this image is a 60-watt light bulb in a desk lamp.

Just Installed Perfect Effects 8 Premium Edition? Get Started Here!

Posted on February 4, 2014

PE-INDI-P-lf copyCongratulations on installing your new copy of Perfect Effects 8 Premium Edition! Now you can bring out the “WOW” in your images with an extensive library of one-click presets, adjustable filters, and powerful tools that create the best effects. If you’re new to Perfect Effects 8, learn more about it.

To get started using Perfect Effects 8 quickly and easily, explore all of these free resources:

Using Bokeh Textures by Liz LePage

Posted on October 18, 2013

Beautiful bokeh backgrounds can add a sparkle to an image that is swoon-worthy. However, having the right settings and props to create a lovely bokeh effect while you’re shooting is not always convenient.

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Dan Harlacher Tutorial: How to use Dynamic Contrast

Posted on October 11, 2013

Using Dynamic Contrast is easy. It’s an awesome way to give your images stunning clarity and make your images pop. This tutorial will give you a great starting point for using this exciting new feature in Perfect Effects, part of the new Perfect Photo Suite 8.

Here is the original image.

Original

1. Start by clicking the Auto Contrast button which will set the black and white points in your image. This will ensure that your image includes true blacks and whites. Fine-tune the results by adjusting the blacks and whites sliders to your taste.

Tip: Holding down the J key will allow you to see the black and white clipping overlay. This helps you to determine the proper amount of whites and blacks.

Auto contrast

Shooting Your Own Textures by Liz Lepage

Posted on September 16, 2013

liza-headshot-1So many photo editing videos out there include the art of adding textures to your images, an extremely popular technique, but they rarely cover the most important topic; how do you create textures in first place?

It’s pretty darn easy to do on your own and a lot of fun to boot. The best part is having your own unique arsenal that you can use and reuse constantly, without having to hunt online for ones that suit your fancy. Alongside all of my images, I also have homemade texture packs that I can apply any time I want to spice up my images!

The first step is actually going out and taking pictures, so here are a few pointers for your journey:

•    Find the right location for you and what type of texture you want to shoot. If you’re looking for brick, grunge and peeling paint, locate your nearest warehouse district complete with crumbling buildings and dirty walls. If you prefer a more natural approach, try taking a hike through the forest, which is full of tree bark, rushing streams and funky rocks.

•    Check your local forecast ahead of time to help avoid extremely sunny afternoons. If you live somewhere that isn’t the Pacific Northwest (full of clouds, which are nature’s soft boxes), don’t be afraid to bring a fill flash with you. Keep your images as flat as possible; the less shadows, the better.

•    Bring the right equipment: leave your wide angle lenses at home and remember to pack a tripod! You’ll want to make sure the images are crisp with no lens distortion.

•    When you find a good spot, set your camera to a small aperture and high shutter speed. You want to avoid a shallow depth of field so that you’re whole texture is perfectly in focus; try keeping your aperture ƒ16 or lower. Plus, you don’t want your images to appear shaky, so hike that shutter speed up and pop your camera on a tripod; try shooting at 1/125th a second or higher.

Once you’re home, with a card full of textured joy, it’s time to edit if your image doesn’t work perfectly straight out of your camera. You can do some basic editing such as: add detail, modify your exposure and contrast, adjust your colors, and more. There are no specific instructions for this part, as so much of this editing process lies in your personal preference. The most important rule is to have fun!

Here’s a before and after example of a texture of mine. As you can see, I like my textures to be darker, richer in color and quite gritty.

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Enjoy and happy editing!

Special note: Owners of Perfect Photo Suite 7.x will receive the Natural Texture Pack by Liz as part of their September Loyalty Reward – for FREE!

 

Up Close with Mykal Hall – Part 2

Posted on August 30, 2013

In part 2 of – Up Close with Mykal Hall – he talks about his typical workflow. To view part 1, click here.

Tell us about your workflow. How does onOne Software fit in? Are you using Photoshop anymore?

I always shoot in RAW. That way I capture the maximum amount of information so I have more creative leeway to stylize to my liking. As the saying goes “pixels are meant to be punished” and on the odd occasion I bend them to near breaking point. I copy my card to an external drive to a folder labeled by the location and date. Then I import the images into Lightroom with a few general keywords, create a Collection Set, then create a collection in that set called Full Shoot where all my RAW files are imported.

The next stage is to preview the images and delete the few that are ruined by either me having to lift my tripod in mid shoot to avoid being hit by a wave, miscalculating a wave strength and get splash back on the lens or filter, (a Seascapers torment), not having properly cleaned the said lens or filter after being splashed or just stuffing up the shot by not selecting Bulb mode when taking long exposures. From a Seascape shoot there may be 2 or 3 shots that fall into this category.

Then, I’ll 3 star rate those images that I feel are acceptable which generally culls it down by half. If I have been in a Long Exposure mood that day this process takes no time at all as I normally have a 90% plus hit rate with composition and exposure. It’s only when I’m shooting for flowing water movements with shutter speeds of 0.6sec that I have more to cull as I’m trying to capture the right timing of waves over or around rocks. After that, I will collect similar composition and view them in Survey View in Lightroom to pick the cream of the crop. These images get a 4 star rating and are placed in the next collection called Picks which is when I start my editing.

Summary of Mykal’s Pre-Editing Process

  1. Shoot in RAW
  2. Copy card to external drive to a folder labeled by location & date
  3. Import images into Adobe Lightroom (with general keywords)
  4. Create a Collection Set, then create a collection in that set called Full Shoot where all my RAW files are imported.
  5. Preview images. Delete completely ruined ones.
  6. 3 star rate images (images deemed acceptable)
  7. Pick the very best and give them 4 stars. Place these in a collection called Picks

 

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First stop is Lightroom for RAW adjustments. In the Basic panel – White balance, highlights and shadows are manipulated. Then to Details to reduce the default setting of Sharpening and Noise Reduction to zero. I sometimes find for my images that Nik’s RAW pre-sharpener and noise reduction in Dfine work better. Lens profile correction and chromatic aberration removed and then RAW file pre-sharpened. If required noise reduction, which completes my RAW processing and the next stage is where the magic begins :) Perfect Photo Suite 7.5. From within Lightroom I send the image to Perfect Layers for sensor spot removal with the Retouch Brush and then into Perfect Effects for stylization.

Creating Your Own Textures

Posted on August 16, 2013

A lot of you have shown us that you use textures when stylizing your images in onOne Software products. To give you even more texture options, here is an inexpensive and easy way to create your own set of textures and how to easily add them into the Perfect Photo Suite.

1. Visit your local arts and craft store

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We drove to a local arts and crafts store near the onOne offices to look for paper that could act as a cool texture when blended with a photo. As it turned out, there was more than just paper available. Not only did we find a ton of paper styles in the store’s scrapbooking section, we found a variety of textures including rice paper, burlap, cork, and sandpaper, to name just a few. It’s amazing how endless the creative possibilities are with all of these different textures. The best part is, the textures we found were inexpensive. We snatched up 18-20 different samples for use in our texture pack for under $20.00 and we were in and out of the store in under 30 minutes.

2. Scan your textures

Once we returned to the office we started sorting through the textures. Our initial thought was to set up the onOne studio to photograph them. After chatting with Dan Harlacher, we learned the much easier way to capture them was to use a scanner. Luckily, Jonny Davenport keeps one at his desk (you can learn why from the recent Up Close Blog on Jonny).

Matt Suess Guest Blog & Tutorial: Improving Skies in Your Photographs

Posted on June 17, 2013

photo copy 8Matt Suess is a professional fine art photographer based in Scottsdale, AZ and Santa Fe, NM. A photojournalist for 17 years and a full-time artist since 2006 Matt also teaches field & classroom photo workshops as well as online courses. Find out more about Matt and read his photography blog. Matt wanted to share his method for improving skies in photographs using the Perfect Brush.

Sometimes all it takes is a little enhancement to the sky in your photographs to take them to the next level and make your images pop. I am going to show you how to do that using the recently updated Perfect Brush in onOne’s Perfect Photo Suite 7.5.

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The image I am using is a 3-photo HDR image that has already been tone mapped and processed. I am pleased with the color and texture of the building, windmill and foreground but would like to add more punch to the clouds and sky.

In adjusting the sky I don’t want any of the adjustments to spill over onto the other parts of the image. To easily do that I am going to use a new feature of the Perfect Brush but before we get there I am going to open the image in Perfect Effects inside Perfect Photo Suite (this technique will also work if you are using the stand-alone Perfect Effects or as a plugin inside Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture).

Perfect Photo Suite 7.5 is Now Available!

Posted on June 3, 2013

sevendotfiveWe are happy to announce that Perfect Photo Suite 7.5 is now available. This is a FREE update for all Suite 7.x owners (this includes Premium, Lightroom® & Aperture®, and Standard Editions) and is now available for purchase. It includes great new features that you’re going to love – the Quick View Browser, refinements to the Perfect Brush, and compatibility for Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom 5.

 

Read the notes below and learn how you can start using the new updates right away!

Installing Your Update

If you are installing a free update, please make sure to download the update for the correct edition. Otherwise the update will NOT work. Here are some instructions if you need to check which version you own.

1. Launch the standalone version for Perfect Photo Suite

2. Once the standalone version is open go to the following menus:

Mac: Perfect Photo Suite/About Perfect Photo Suite

Win: Help/About Perfect Photo Suite

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