Photoshop CS5

Photoshop's Content-Aware Scale Feature is Fantastic

Photoshop CS5 has a way-cool feature: Content-Aware Scale. Basically, this feature lets you scale a picture . . without affecting the main content (subject). This is important when you need to add some extra room in an image, such as when you need to add type.

I had to use Content-Aware Scale recently for a project that I am working on. (Info on this project to come soon, but I can't let the cat out of the bag quite yet.)

My friend Julieanne Kost at Adobe explains now to use this feature best.

Following Julieanne's advice, I was able to create the image above from the image below. 

Yes, I also took advantage of the Clone Stamp tool. And yes, I was actually falling through the air at 125 miles an hour. Just take a look at my face! 

After adding the type, by the way, I chose a Gradient Layer as the Layer Style, which allowed me to add some cool and fun colors to the type.

The key to making this work is to choose Content-Aware Scale (of course) and then to make a selection of the subject you don't want stretched, and then to save that subject as a selection.

Hey! I hope to see you - and JK - at Photoshop World in Orlando this March. Click here for the list of my classes.

Explore the light,

Quick Digital Imaging Tip 2/101: Use Photomerge in Photoshop to Create Panos

This is tip #2 of 101 digital imaging tips I plan to post here over the next few months.

Use Photomerge in Photoshop to create cool panos.

Pano tips:
• Use a steady tripod.
• Set your camera to manual exposure and set the exposure for the brightest part of the scene.
• Position your camera vertically.
• Overlap each scene by 1/3.
• Keep the horizon line level.

If you are very serious about shooting panos, check out these pano heads from Induro.

The pano shown here:
• Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah. Not far from Arches National Park.
• 5 frames.
• Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40mm zoom.

Explore the light,

Black-and-White HDR Rocks!

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography is becoming more and more popular – and easier than ever with programs like Photomatix, and now with the new (and greatly improved) HDR Pro in Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Even though these programs are powerful and offer almost endless creative options, you will find that exploring additional black-and-white options open up additional creative possibilities. I say "additional" because you can desaturate an HDR image to create a black-and-white image.

One reason for the added creative options in black-and-white imaging: When you remove the color from a scene, you remove some of the reality. When you remove some of the reality, your picture can look more artistic and creative.

Here are two examples of black-and-white HDR images. Both images were original created in Photomatix from color files. To create the black-and-white effect, I used Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro plug-in.

As an aside, Ansel Adams was a master of HDR imaging. He created high dynamic range images in the wet darkroom by burning/dodging, using different filters/papers/chemicals, and by vary exposure times. Kinda interesting when you think about how long HDR has been available – to pros like Mr. Adams.

Back to Silver Efex Pro. You'll find several cool Presets, which suggest starting points for your images. One is Antique Plate, illustrated below. After selecting a Preset, you have many other creative options, including which color digital filter to apply to an image, shadow/highlight control, brightness, contrast, and of course, control points.

You can get a 15% discount on Nik Software products here.

If you have CS5 (or CS4), other options for creating black-and-white images are available in ACR (under the HSL tab) and as a Black-and-White adjustment (use an Adjustment Layer).

Have fun creating your black-and-white HDR images.

Explore the light,