Tag Archives: adobe photoshop cs6

Creating an orb in Photoshop

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I use Photoshop CS6 for most of my photo editing work — adding contrast, sharpening, correcting exposure, bringing back highlights, cropping, and so much more.

Once I finish editing, though, it’s fun to find out what other things Photoshop can do.

To me, Photoshop filters are the most fun, and recently I learned how to create an interesting orb, like this:

Flower orb

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Not everything makes a good orb. The more little things in the picture, the better looking the orb will be.

Here’s how to do it, step by step.

Open your picture and crop it to a square, or a ratio of 1:1. Click on the crop icon. In your crop options bar, it probably says “Ratio.” Click on that and change it to 1:1 (Square). Your crop marks will move to the center of the image to create a square from your picture. You can move the crop area around if you want it somewhere else. (Click on the image below for a larger image.)

Crop in Photoshop CS6

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Next, click on Filter ► Distort ► Polar Coordinates…. ► Polar to Rectangular ► Okay

My flower now looks like this:

Photoshop distort polar coordinates

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That creates an interesting item in and of itself, but we’re going to go further.

Now click on Image ► Image Rotation ► Flip Canvas Vertical. That gives me this:

Photoshop Flip Canvast Verticle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Again, you could stop there and have something interesting. We’re still going further, though!

Click on Filter ► Distort ► Polar Coordinates…. ► Rectangular to Polar ► Okay.

That gives you an orb!

If you don’t crop your picture to a square, you won’t get an orb. Instead, if your picture is wider than it is tall, you’ll get an oval on its side. If your picture is taller than it is wide, you’ll get an oval on end.

Have fun!

Lastly, guess who is in this orb?

Zoey the Cool Cat in an orb

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m Zoey the Cool Cat,
and I would approve this post
if I wasn’t dreaming of catching birds.Zoey the Cool Cat

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How's the view?

Talk bubbles in Adobe Photoshop CS6

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For the past couple of decades I have been doing my photography editing and graphics work in Corel programs. Currently I’m using DRAW! X6, PaintShop Pro X5, and Photo-Paint X6. Give me a graphics or photo project and I can do it in those three programs.

Since around this time last year, I set out on a mission to learn Adobe Photoshop. In addition to the Corel programs, I had used Photoshop and PageMaker in the ’80s and ’90s because of my work. When my work no longer required them in 1994, I quit using them and quit upgrading them.

I know that the current version of Photoshop, CS6, can do everything that the three Corel programs can do, but the masses say that the learning curve is pretty steep. I’m here to tell you that the learning curve is, indeed, steep. But it sure is fun!

Today I’ve been learning to do callouts and talk bubbles in Photoshop CS6. The process is intuitive, but because things show up on different layers, getting things to come together, especially if you just want to edit text or change a graphic, can be frustrating. Once you learn how things work, though, it becomes much easier.

Here is a picture that I added two talk bubbles to.

How's the view?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It took me about an hour (and a couple of margaritas, a plate of nachos, a BLT sandwich, and a beer) to do that. However, once I understood how things worked, it took just a couple of minutes to do it again on a different picture.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

House finches at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Look this way! Please look this way!

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

On a recent hike in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, I found three house finches sitting on a wire. I took five pictures before they flew away. My intent was to get all three of them looking at me, or at least looking forward. They refused to cooperate. There was always at least one bird that was looking the other way. Begging all three birds to “look this way, please, look this way!” didn’t have any effect on them.

I got up the courage to do something about it as I was looking at the five pictures this morning. Originally, I was going to simply replace the one bird that wasn’t looking at me with one that was. Then I thought, why stop at three birds? After playing around, I came up with a nice picture of six house finches:

House finches at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to tell me which three birds originally were not in that picture. Let us number the birds 1 through 6 from bottom left to top right. And as all good teachers would do, I require that you “show your work,” i.e., explain your decision.

My wise old grandmotherThis little exercise reminds me of my wise old grandmother. She carried her Kodak Instamatic camera in her purse everywhere she went, and she didn’t hesitate to pull it out and snap a picture. Once she got home she took all her pictures and mounted them in her scrapbooks and photo albums. However, she didn’t hesitate to crop them, cut them in two, whatever, in order to make the pictures better or make them fit the theme of her pages.

She used to always tell me, “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.” It’s still like that, so if you aren’t using Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Serif PhotoPlus, Photo Studio, PaintShop Pro, Photo-Paint, ACDSee, Gimp, Picmonkey, etc., you’re missing out on a lot of fun. The ones I use are Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4, Photo-Paint X6, and PaintShop Pro X5.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pinnochio

I lied (must mean I’m a Republican)

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In a recent post of mine (Imperial Beach, the most southwesterly city in the continental U.S.), I lied! I was misleading to my readers. I’ll let you decide if I should be punished by having to vote for Romney & Ryan.

Pictures in my post:

Tijuana Estuary National Wildlife Refuge, Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach, most southwestern city

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Original, unaltered pictures:

Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Imperial Beach, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I thought the original pictures were too cluttered so I tried to clean them up using Photoshop CS6. Cluttered….. Hmmm. Sounds just like politics, doesn’t it? What’s my punishment?Liar!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Motor Transport Museum, State Route 94, San Diego County, California

Motor Transport Museum of San Diego

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

During yesterday morning’s adventure beyond the boondocks, I found many subjects worthy of photography. One of them was the Motor Transport Museum of San Diego. It’s a huge factory from decades ago, too big to fit it all into my 28-300mm lens. Keeping in mind my previous work with the Photomerge function of Photoshop, I took five pictures and sent them to Photoshop, which gave me this:

Motor Transport Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As you can see, the picture’s a little crooked and the buildings seem to be leaning extraordinarily. Since there has not been an earthquake recently….

With previous landscape panoramas I have done, I simply cropped the picture to make it straight. However, landscape panoramas rarely have tilting buildings in them, so this is a perspective issue.

Fortunately, Photoshop can easily correct that, too. I simply clicked on the crop tool, then the perspective tool, drew a perspective box on the picture, adjusted the sides of the box to indicate what should be straight, and then clicked on okay. Photoshop worked its magic and gave me this:

Motor Transport Museum

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Much better.

Unfortunately, the museum is only open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays. I guess you know where I’m going on a future Saturday, probably sooner rather than later.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

You don’t have to be a purist, featuring Zoey the Cool Cat

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Purist” is a word that I don’t think I’ve ever liked because it often is used to put down the creativity of others, creativity which the purist often couldn’t do or didn’t want to do. Now that doesn’t apply to all purists, just probably about 80% of them, which is a good supermajority.

Several decades ago when I was a Realtor, I used to compile a list of all the properties that were for sale in my farming area. I also had the addresses of all the properties, their most recent sale date, and the price they sold at. I got all the information from going down to the Courthouse and searching through the public records. I was told by the established Realtors that a “purist” wouldn’t work that way. Oh. (I lasted in the Texas oil-boom-to-bust longer than they did.)

When I opened a computer store in the mid-1980s, I sent flyers out to all the houses within a five-mile radius. I was told a purist would just have a grand opening and be done with it. Oh. (My competition eventually packed up and moved.)

I have many more examples, but you get the message.

Photography is the same way. Many older photographers, like me, grew up with film cameras and darkroom developing. Now that digital photography and digital photo editing programs like Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, Gimp, and others are here, some of the older photographers seem to be too proud to use them. They claim to be “photography purists.”

Some are even hanging on to the last vestiges of film cameras and developing in their own private darkrooms. Talk about expensive and time consuming. They are still using filters and filter stacking out in the field. Why? “To get the best I can out of the camera.” That’s all well and good, and it’s a lot of fun to be out and about taking pictures, but there is simply no way to get as many pictures out in the field as what Photoshop will give you back at the office.

I submit that if you want to have a lot of fun, learn a good digital photo editing program as well as your camera and your lenses. Once you know what all three can give you — their strengths and weaknesses — you can double or even triple your fun. The way I do this is to dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes each day to whatever new tasks I am seeking to learn. Right now it’s Photoshop CS6.

You don’t have to be a “purist” in order to accomplish what the “purists” accomplish. In fact, the beauty of technology is that, indeed, you don’t have to be a “purist” at all. If you have an interest in something, or see something that someone else did, don’t question whether or not it is “purist.” Just see if you can do the same thing! Explore. And if you accomplish the same thing using different tools, that’s okay! In fact, it just might give you a leg up on your competition.

I just finished reading Best Photoshop Filters, by Susannah Hall (ISBN 978-0-321-75422-6), 415 pages, retails for $49.99. It discusses all the filters in Photoshop CS6, and there are a slew of them.

Photoshop filters are basically presets that allow you to do one-click modifications to your pictures. Following are 26 examples, using Zoey the Cool Cat as our model. With all of the modifications one can make to the presets, there are probably tens of thousands of different things one can do to one’s pictures. I could have sat here all day playing with these filters but at some point, well, there is work to do and bills to be paid…. :(.

Hope you enjoy these. My favorites are 7, 12, 20, 22, and 26, with 20 being my #1. Let me know your favorites.

Picture 1Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 2Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 3Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 4Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 5Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 6Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 7Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 8Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 9Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 10Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 11Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 12Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 13Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 14Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 15Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 16Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 17Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 18Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 19Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 20Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 21Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 22Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 23Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 24Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 25Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

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Picture 26Zoey the Cool Cat using a Photoshop CS6 filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Wild parrots

Love birds

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

One of my primary tasks with Photoshop CS6 and PaintShop Pro X5 is to make pictures more interesting. This particularly applies to bird pictures since birds are not known to be very cooperative in helping me compose my pictures. As an example, here is a picture of two wild parrots in Kearney Mesa:

Wild parrots

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It’s not a bad picture. It has two birds, it has a part of the telephone pole and a plant. Good composition. However, as it is, you can’t really see the birds. I want to make eye contact, and I’ve discovered that a 300mm lens isn’t good enough to go birding with. However, a 300mm lens coupled with Photoshop is!

First, I simply cropped the picture, effectively bringing the birds in closer:

Wild parrots

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Better than the first but I don’t really like birds just sitting on wires. I want something a little more. So I moved the birds a little ways down the wire:

Wild parrots

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I thought about moving the plant a little closer, but the focus of the plant doesn’t jive with the focus of the birds if I move the plant too close. So I didn’t. It looked too odd.

After moving the birds, I simply cropped the former position of the two parrots out of the picture:

Wild parrots

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Visually, the final picture is much more interesting; the right bird is looking at the telephone pole, seeming to wonder if he should get any closer to it. Maybe the right bird is playing hard to get………

I also really like the two birds being closer together. Instead of simple wild parrots, now they are love birds………lol

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Santa Fe Depot, San Diego, California

Oh, noooooooo! They found out!

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have some San Diego friends who follow my blogging adventures, and one of them took me to the woodshed this morning because my picture of the Santa Fe Depot in my earlier post this morning “is nothing like that.”

He is right.

Here is the picture I put in my post:

Santa Fe Depot, San Diego, California

Santa Fe Depot, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many decades ago, the Santa Fe Depot was probably the tallest building in downtown San Diego. No more. That area is so overrun with skyscrapers that there is no way to get a decent picture of the Santa Fe Depot. I have 206 pictures of the Depot, and this is the best I could get of the full building:’

Santa Fe Depot, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The beautiful domes were hidden behind the palm tree or lost in the maze of the skyscraper. The other tilting skyscrapers didn’t add anything to the picture.

Enter Photoshop CS6….

I spent 1½ hours removing the skyscrapers using Photoshop’s Magic Wand and Quick Selection tools. Removing 90% of the skyscrapers was really easy. It was those skyscraper parts invading every nook and cranny of the outline of the Depot that took so much time to get right. Once I got that, I simply inserted a new sky and — voilà! — nice picture.

What I noticed as I was compiling this post was that I was so excited about the sky and the lack of skyscrapers that I forgot to lighten the shadows. When I lightened the shadows, I noticed the people, the car, the trash can, two poles, two electric raceways, and a sign on an exterior wall. They started bugging me, so back to Photoshop I went. Here’s my final product:

Santa Fe Depot, San Diego, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m wondering which picture you like the best. Actually, no I’m not. You don’t get to vote…. you don’t get to choose…. you have no say whatsoever…. so there!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Darned perception

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Female lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkI thought some of the comments on my previous post (I’m gettin’ good) were interesting:

  • “I like the natural look of the first one.”
  • “I know you found the first photo to be drab, but I loved it!”
  • “….it looks a little like there’s too much grays now instead of browns…A little washed out…”
  • “I would have liked just a smidge more color on the queen of the jungle. Just a smidge.”

Why I found the comments interesting:

  • “I like the natural look of the first one.” — The first one was not natural. I had the wrong white balance setting on the camera, which caused the overly warm (yellow) cast to everything. Just because it was the picture the camera took does not mean it’s the “natural look.” Remember what my wise old grandmother said: “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with.” Sometimes, though, even the basics are wrong. Fortunately, Photoshop allows us to correct the basics.
  • “I know you found the first photo to be drab, but I loved it!” — I didn’t find it drab, just not what I remember seeing. And in looking at the other pictures I took, it definitely was not an accurate picture of what I saw. The whole picture was too yellow.
  • Female lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park“….it looks a little like there’s too much grays now instead of browns…A little washed out…” — This comment is a result of that darned perception. Photoshop’s algorithms look at the average color throughout the picture and then subtracts the average wrong color from the overall average color to give the average correct color. Once I got the white balance correct for the overall picture, I separated the lion from its background and added some contrast and sharpening for the lion, not for the background. That allowed the lion to stand out from its background. In the first picture, the lion was getting lost in the too-sharp and too-colorful background, a result of not using a shallow depth of field (low number for the f/stop). Because the background is so much of the picture, some might think that the lion now has too much gray. However, the lion’s color was not changed at all once the correct white balance was achieved. This comment might make a good case for several options: (1) cropping real tight on the lion so that there is less background causing subjective viewing of the lion, (2) increasing the contrast a little more on just the lion, (3) adding some more color to the lion. Number 1 would be my first choice. I think the other two options, especially #3, would create too much depth to the lion’s fur, a depth that just isn’t there on a female lion.
  • “I would have liked just a smidge more color on the queen of the jungle. Just a smidge.” — Another comment caused by perception due to the background. I went back to see what adding a smidge more color to the queen of the jungle and it just looks too artificial, giving a yellow or orange glow to the lion. I was back to having an incorrect white balance albeit by different means.

I’ll give you another example using the following two pictures. In the first picture, my Canon 550D was set for a white balance of “Tungsten,” which is what I use at home so that I can get instantaneous pictures of Zoey the Cool Cat; she’s an indoor cat. When I took the picture, I was in the shade instead of the sun so I could see the LCD screen better than when I took the picture of the lion. The yellow color immediately told me that the camera was still set to Tungsten. I reset the white balance to “Auto” and took the second picture. Both pictures are the basics out of the camera. Some people will like the warmer yellow color, and that’s okay. But for those wanting “natural,” the second picture is the more natural of the two.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think the comments make a great case for never showing the working pictures, only the final product. After all, the only people who show you working renditions are teachers. Of course, in my previous post, I was being more Photoshop teacher than photographer.

Even professional photographers who make 100% of their income from their photography have every digital photo editing program in existence, even if they refuse to admit that they use them — that’s a lot of money to spend on something they don’t use……lol.

….we return to our regularly scheduled programming: Andy Roddick vs. Novak Djokovic in Olympic tennis.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

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I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Female lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

I’m gettin’ good

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

For some reason I have this infatuation with wildlife that is either yawning, eating, grooming, or just letting that lazy tongue have a little look-see. At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park this past weekend, the three lions were up close and personal, about two inches away (or whatever the thickness of the glass is). I got what I thought was a great photo of one of the female lions:

Female lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There is not too much that is right with that picture — the lion gets lost in the background; there are flies at the corner of its mouth, on its tongue and on the top of its nose; there’s no contrast between the lion and the background…. Aaack!

Remembering what my wise old grandmother always said as she put together her photo albums and scrapbooks — “What comes out of the camera is just the basics to start with!” — I first went to Lightroom because I know it better than Photoshop. I didn’t really get anything much better.

Female lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In trying to get some contrast between the lion and the background, the color cast got shifted. On to Photoshop.

After first working in Adobe Camera Raw, I got a little better contrast and color cast. At that point I took the resulting picture into Photoshop. After duplicating the picture, I applied a layer mask and then highlighted everything around the lion. Then I simply converted the background to black & white. Once that was done, I used a combination of the healing brush, the patch brush, and the clone tool to get rid of the flies.

Photoshop has an excellent feature called Content-Aware. After highlighting the flies, I simply hit the delete key. Photoshop doesn’t actually delete the flies. Instead it fills the area where the flies are, so up pops a Fill window with some options. The option I wanted was Contents, Content-Aware:

Content Aware

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All of that gave me the result that I was looking for, and which the LCD screen in the bright sunshine at the Park indicated I had, but didn’t:

Female lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Whaddaya think?

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I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos