Category Archives: Adobe

Adobe digital photo editing products

What comes out of the camera….

My wise old grandmother

When I was living in Utah with my mom, stepdad, and six other children, we rarely ate as a family at the table. In fact, in thinking back on those three years, I can’t ever remember us eating together as a family. That might explain why I stole so much food from the Food King right across the street. My friends were stealing toys; I was stealing food.

When my wise old grandmother adopted me, my youngest uncle (we’ll call him Doug since that was his name) was still living at home. Although he was in college, he knew that if he wanted to eat, supper was served at the dining room table at 6:00 p.m. Breakfast and lunch usually were served at the kitchen bar since everyone had different schedules for the day. But if you missed supper at the dining room table at 6:00 p.m., you pretty much starved until the next morning. It only took twice to realize that my wise old grandmother was serious….

After breakfast and through mid-afternoon, the dining room table belonged to my wise old grandmother. She would cut out patterns for the clothes she made, write letters to family and friends, read the newspaper, and, most important to her, put together her scrapbooks and photo albums.

Doug always found it funny how my wise old grandmother would create her scrapbooks and photo albums because there wasn’t a full-size picture in any of them. All of her pictures got cropped to meet a specific purpose that she had in mind. Cropping back in those days meant using the scissors to cut away parts that weren’t needed, and sometimes to cut out a person, a car, or a building.

Doug constantly was making fun of her but she never backed down. She knew what she wanted, she knew what she had to do to create what she wanted, and that was that!

Probably my favorite words of wisdom from my wise old grandmother are words that I have been using and practicing for at least forty years:

What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.

In today’s world, Photoshop is our scissors and our lightroom. No need to make a mess on the dining room table or get sick inhaling all the chemical smells in the lightroom. Just make a plate of nachos, grab a beer, put the cat on your lap, open Photoshop, and get started.

I am always after better or more time-saving ways to work in Photoshop, so I check out new software that comes on the market. Recently one of my favorite software companies, Topaz Labs, released a new plug-in for Photoshop, Topaz Restyle.

Following is a picture of the La Casa Estudillo Museum in Old Town. You’ll see and read more about it in an upcoming blog post, probably Saturday.

Casa de Estudillo Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That actually is a panorama comprised of six individual pictures, photomerged in Photoshop. I find it perfectly acceptable, but then I remembered the new Topaz Restyle software that I had just bought and had to go mess around some. I got a lot of interesting pictures but I liked this one the best:

Casa de Estudillo Museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The original picture was taken at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2014. The Topaz Restyle picture also was taken at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2014, since they are the same picture!

The second picture certainly looks like it was taken at dusk the way the sunlight is reflected in the clouds, on the ground, in that left window, off the museum sign in the lower left, and off the exterior walls. Even to the right of the museum, it looks like the sun is shining a little more brightly over there, maybe because there were no trees providing any shade.

I love the Topaz rendition. I think it adds depth to the picture—look at the clouds through the arches in the bell tower—and a great deal more interest.

The Topaz Restyle plugin normally is $59.99 but you can get a $20 discount on it through the end of February by using the discount code FEBRESTYLE at checkout.

Topaz Labs is here.

All Topaz software has a free 30-day fully functional trial, so hop on over there, check out what they have, and let me know what you think.

Sadly, Topaz has not paid me for this testimonial….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Moving the mouse in a straight line in Photoshop

How I Did It

It’s no secret that ever since the advent of the computer mouse, those of us working with drawing programs such as Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator wanted a way to draw a straight line. It didn’t take too long before Corel and Adobe gave us the ability to draw those straight lines.

Recently I was wanting to draw a perfectly straight line in Photoshop, and that’s when it occurred to me that since Photoshop also is an Adobe product, there just might be a way to draw a straight line.

A simple Google search told me how:

Select the Pen tool.
Position the Pen tool where you want the straight segment to begin, and click to define the first anchor point (do not drag).
Click again where you want the segment to end (Shift-click to constrain the angle of the segment to a multiple of 45°).

I’m pretty much a keyboard person, using the mouse only when the keyboard is awkward, like drawing lines.

While I was drawing lines, I inadvertently hit the shortcut key to get to the eraser. In my haste and not realizing that I had switched to the eraser, I clicked where I wanted the line to begin, Shift-clicked where I wanted the line to end, and voilà!, I erased in a perfectly straight line!

My mind started working.

Some experimentation indicated that I could do anything in a perfectly straight line simply by clicking where I wanted to start and Shift-clicking where I wanted to end….

pen tool – yep
eraser tool – yep
clone tool – yep
spot healing tool – yep
brush tool – yep

Doesn’t seem to matter what you need to do, if you need to do it in a straight line, try Click, Shift-click.

Lastly, does anyone have a recommendation for software that will record my screen while I do things? That would have been very convenient for this post.

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You expect me to swim in that?

Picture of the Moment

I have had so many problems in the past whenever I upgraded Adobe Photoshop. Thus, when Photoshop CC (2014) was released in June, I resisted the temptation to upgrade.

That temptation overcame me today, which means that I started upgrading at around 6:00 this morning and just finished a few minutes ago.

Upgrading for me meant that I had to install a new version of Photoshop CC since it’s a major upgrade and does not install on top of any older versions.

A new version doesn’t recognize Actions, Extension Panels, Plug-ins, etc.

Since I have a lot of that stuff for my Photographic Art enterprise, I had to re-install or re-create everything. So burdensome. One would think that in today’s technological world, a few good programmers would be able to make things go more smoothly. Not the case….

Anyways, everything seems to be working, so I’m back in action. Here’s my first Photographic Art creation using Photoshop CC (2014):

You expect me to swim in that?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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A week’s worth of work all in one picture

How I Did It

Long-time readers know that I have been on a mission to accomplish in Photoshop everything that I previously had been doing in Corel Draw, Corel Photo-Paint, and Corel PaintShop Pro.

Until recently, those three Corel programs collectively cost less than half of what Photoshop cost.

Now, with software coming to us out of the cloud, Photoshop 2014 is a mere $9.99 a month. That is a significant savings over the previous cost of a full version of Photoshop and upgrades as they came out.

This past week I have been working on really getting to know what I can do using layers and masks, and here is the product of my work:

Sunny Window

That is a conglomeration of many pictures: wood floor, curtains and windows but without muntins, sunset, condos overlooking Mission Bay, and water and boats. I created the muntins myself; that took the most time.

I had to use layer masks to get the sun to be bright enough to shine through the window, but since the windows didn’t have muntins, the whole thing look too artificial. After I created the muntins, the sun shining on the floor looked artificial, so I had to add shadows cast by the muntins. That took the second most amount of time.

Although adding muntins created a better look, it was strenuous work then to mask out each of the itty bitty windows in order to let the water and boats show through. That was the third most amount of time.

I am off a little in the perspective with some of the muntins, but considering this was my first time to try to do this in Photoshop, I think I did pretty good, and next time I want to do something like this, it will go much faster and more smoothly.

Remember: Anything you see here at Russel Ray Photos might be a lie!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Do you have BWS?
I have the answer:photograhic art taking pictures making art

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Friday Flower Fiesta (8-15-14)

Friday Flower Fiesta

Photographic Art for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta were created by none other than the awesome Julian Rey Saenz, Database Manager and Director of Social Media Marketing at Russel Ray Photos.

I figured that he should know the ins and outs of everything that we are trying to do, so following are his first ten Photographic Art creations.

Let me know what you think of his work.

#1
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#2
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#3
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#4
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#5
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#6
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#7
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#8
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#9
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

#10
Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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photograhic art taking pictures making art

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Is he a keeper?

How I Did It

A couple of days ago, Julian asked me if I was going to teach him the ins and outs of creating Photographic Art. I can’t express how happy it made me that he wanted to learn, and considering how awesome he is in everything he has accomplished for Photographic Art, I had no hesitation about teaching him and expecting him to pick it up very quickly.

So today, before he arrived for work, I picked a particularly troublesome photo to train him on. Here it is:

Amerigo

This had 12 problems associated with it and each problem allowed us to explore different facets of Photoshop.

0 – Perspective. It’s obvious that I was standing on the ground looking up at the mural because everything seems to be tilted back. We corrected the perspective and then cropped the window at the right so that we had half a window on both sides.

  1. A little piece of something in the corner, probably an advertisement or a parking sign. We removed that.
  2. Glare from a light is noticeable. We had to clone that out to make that area blend in with the rest of the mural surroundings.
  3. A little imperfection in the stucco. We cloned that out.
  4. Glare in the window from lights elsewhere. We removed them.
  5. Two little dots which don’t look like much here, but sometimes those little dots really stand out in the Photographic Art. We removed them.
  6. Four little dots. Removed.
  7. Part of a square something or other. Removed.
  8. Another imperfection in the stucco. Cloned.
  9. Another little part of a square something. Removed.
  10. It might be hard to see in this picture, but there is a wire that starts here, goes behind the mural, and shows up again up near 3. Removed.
  11. A flag pole holder. Removed.
  12. Stucco faded noticeably so we cloned it to make it more even with the rest of the stucco.

Here is our final product:

Amerigo

Some of the many Photoshop features/variations we used included:

  1. Crop Tool
  2. Perspective Crop Tool
  3. Clone Stamp Tool
  4. Spot Healing Brush Tool
  5. Rectangular Marquee Tool
  6. Fill, Content Aware
  7. Copy, Paste, Move
  8. Brush Tool
  9. Zoom Tool
  10. Image Size
  11. Canvas Size

So, whaddaya think of Julian’s work? He certainly doesn’t sleep on the job like my other partner:

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Is Julian a keeper?

Julian back at work

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Do you have BWS?
I have the answer:photograhic art taking pictures making art

Visit Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos at Fine Art America.

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray

I cannot be trusted

How I Did It

I first started taking pictures in sixth grade when the principal, Miss Gustafson, asked for a volunteer photographer. She explained that the volunteer photographer would get in free to all sporting events, and the rest is history.

Even though I was using a Canon SLR in sixth grade, my first pictures really were just snapshots of the sports team and crowds.

In high school and college, my photography became more serious. I endeavored to understand the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Then throw in there film speed, film type, lenses, filters, and even film processing methods.

After college, I tried to develop a photographer’s eye for composition. Sometimes that meant sitting in the same spot for several hours waiting for just the right combination of things—light, weather, people (or lack thereof), etc. Sometimes I would take a picture and then go back several times over the next weeks and months, hoping to get a better picture.

Them days are gone………………………..

In today’s world of Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom, Corel Paintshop Pro, and many other digital photo software editing programs, I think I have come full circle, back to taking snapshots with my Canon 550D. I’m more interested in getting the picture and then making something out of it when I get back home. I think someone calls it “Photographic Art.”

For example, here’s a picture of two pigs sleeping at the San Diego County Fair:

Two pigs sleeping

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s a cute picture, but I thought it could be better if I removed the bars from their pen, not to mention the food dish and the butt of the black pig in the other pen. I even thought about that while at the Fair because I took a picture of sawdust which I thought would be good to replace the bars with:

Sawdust

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

First I removed some sawdust from the pigs, as well as a few pigskin imperfections, by simple cloning, which Photoshop makes real easy. I cloned out some feathers from on top of the sawdust as well.

Then I masked the bars and deleted them. That left me with a huge blank space behind the pigs’ heads, but Photoshop also makes it pretty easy to insert just about anything into a picture.

Here is the result:

Two pigs sleeping

Isn’t it a lot better picture without the bars in there?

Lets you focus on the two pigs, especially the smiling pig, obviously in the midst of sweet dreams.

What you see at Russel Ray Photos might not be what you get. I just can’t be trusted.

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Need a unique gift? Check out Photographic Art!photograhic art taking pictures making art

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend James Frimmer, Realtor, CDPE
CA BRE #0145857201 HomeSmartDiamondSmall copy 2

02 HomeSmartRWnameOnly2 copy

►►►►◄◄◄◄

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions by Russel Ray