Tag Archives: photoshop cs6

Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Friday Flower Fiesta — Geraniums & Pelargoniums

Friday Flower Fiesta

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many decades ago we would identify geraniums and pelargoniums by their leaves, and as geraniums. In today’s world, due to DNA and genome identification, what you and I traditionally thought of as geraniums — those with big, beautiful, round heads of flowers — are actually “zonal pelargoniums.” Both geraniums and pelargoniums are in the Geraniaceae family. Very few geraniums are sold in plant nurseries simply because they are not as showy as the pelargoniums.

I have thousands of pictures of pelargoniums and hundreds of geraniums. The problem with pictures of pelargoniums is that by the time the flower stalk is full of flowers, some of the older flowers look pretty ratty. Today I discovered how to resolve that problem.

First, I cloned out the ratty parts of the pictures using Photoshop CS6. Along with other minor cleanup (contrast, highlights, shadows), I applied the Fractalius filter sharpening to them. Then I took them to CorelDRAW! X6 and made paintings out of them using the Trace Bitmap function. Since I was making paintings out of them, I didn’t have to be real careful in Photoshop with the quality of the cloning. That made it a lot easier since geraniums and pelargoniums have a lot of nooks and crannies amongst the leaves and flowers.

Following are my pelargonium paintings for our Friday Flower Fiesta, all of them from my gardens over the years. Some of the original pictures were small, unfocused, low resolution pictures from old point & shoot cameras; making paintings out of them allows me to save them as something more beautiful than just a documentation of my old gardens.

The last painting is of some pelargonium leaves — one reason why I like pelargoniums is because when they are not blooming, they still look gorgeous because of their many leaf colors and shapes. If you really want something unique in your garden, get some smelly pelargoniums, more properly called “scented-leaf pelargoniums.” They come in chocolate, lemon, apple, coconut, rose, strawberry, nutmeg, and many other smells.

Picture 1Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 2Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 3Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 4Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 5Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 6Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 7Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 8Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 9Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 10Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 11Geraniums and Pelargoniums

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 12Geraniums and Pelargoniums

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Find Photoshop expensive? Consider leasing.

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Currently on my computer I have these digital photo editing programs:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS6
  • Adobe Lightroom 4.1
  • Corel PaintShop Pro X4
  • Corel Photo-Paint X6
  • CorelDRAW! X6
  • Word 2010 (don’t underestimate it!)

I have had Photoshop, Photo-Paint, CorelDRAW!, and Word since their initial releases decades ago.

When I went to upgrade Photoshop, I discovered the steep price. I also discovered Lightroom, so rather than the steep price for a Photoshop upgrade, I opted to continue using my very old version of Photoshop and learn Lightroom.

When I went to upgrade my very old versions of Photo-Paint and DRAW!, I discovered PaintShop Pro. The price was very reasonable, so I bought it.

I use all of those programs for various purposes, but my current goal is to see if I can get Photoshop to do everything. If I can, then ultimately I’ll be migrating my skills in all the other programs over to Photoshop.

I think that Photoshop is the most powerful individual programs, but if I combine DRAW! X6 and either Photo-Paint X6 or Paintshop Pro X4, I can do in them anything that Photoshop can do. The question is, “How easily?” or “How much time is involved?”

For example, I use CorelDRAW! X6 to do the Zoey the Cool Cat approval stamp at the end of each post. It takes me about 15 seconds. To do it is Photoshop would take several layers and lots of time, and I haven’t found that Photoshop Actions can really automate everything for me yet.

I use Word 2010 to create quick frames, like the one I use for my wise old grandmother:

My wise old grandmother

That took about 15 seconds in Word 2010.

I use Lightroom 4.1 to give me quick JPGs from RAW files and to do quick adjustments for exposure, highlights, shadows, contrast, and clarity (sharpness). Five sliders takes about 30 seconds. The same tasks in Photoshop takes several minutes due to having to go through Adobe Camera Raw first and then into Photoshop. Minimum of five layers in Photoshop.

I use Photo-Paint to create GIFs. It’s the easiest program I’ve found for that:

You could learn a lot by paying attention here

PaintShop Pro X4 is very similar to Photoshop, and I’ve found it much easier to use. However, simply because Photoshop is the defacto standard throughout the world, Photoshop is where I’m dedicating my time. When you have a defacto standard, you have a lot of people doing tutorials and creating plugins and such. So Photoshop it is.

One you have created certain effects that you like in any of the programs, you can either save the file as a template and then just replace the picture as needed (that’s what I do in CorelDRAW! and Word) or you can create actions, scripts, or macros in the other programs to automate tasks. As with anything, it takes time to set it up initially but then the ROI on your time is returned each succeeding time you do the same thing.

If you’re considering Photoshop and find the price too steep, consider leasing it, which is what I do. I have a one-year lease with Adobe that costs me $19.99 a month. Considering that the full program is $699, it would take me 35 months of leasing to pay for the program. That’s three years. During those three years, Adobe will come out with two upgrades, costing you $199 each, another $400. You’ll never be able to stay up to date with the latest and the greatest. With a lease, you can.

Twenty dollars a month is less than any of my other individual bills — gas, phone, cable, mortgage, electricity, etc., and something I can easily afford. Coming up with $699 all at one time, and then $199 every 18 months, can often be difficult for the 99%.

If you’re considering a Photoshop lease, when you go to buy the product, in the dropdown box, select “Subscription” instead of “Upgrade” or “Full.”

Once you have any of these programs, if you have a question about how to do something, ask me. If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll find out. It helps me learn, and real-world examples are always much more fun than reading through a book or watching a tutorial.

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

Lily of the Nile

Creating a work of art with Photoshop plugins

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I just discovered plugins for Photoshop CS6. My first plugin creation:

Lily of the Nile

Lily of the Nile

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Here is the original picture from which that one was created:

Lily of the Nile

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The original picture isn’t anything special, just a picture of Lily of the Nile flowers. Now the Photoshop plugin creation, well, I like it a lot.

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

University of San Diego with a beautiful sky

It’s not all sun all the time

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

How I Did It

 

People think that living in San Diego must be great for photography, or at least for photographers and their equipment since it’s rare that we get wet.

Having lots of sunshine, though, presents other problems. Excessive glare comes to mind.

However, even though we have lots of “days” of sunshine, “days” is defined differently than you might think. “Days” for the San Diego PR people simply means that the sun comes out sometime during the day.

During May and June we have May Gray and June Gloom. That’s when the marine cloud layer often doesn’t dissipate until well into the afternoon. While there are lots of great places and things to photograph, the ugly, dreary, oogy, blah! May Gray will give you pictures like this one of the University of San Diego:

University of San Diego with a dull gray sky

 

I always get a kick out of the photography snobs who say they get the best picture they can in the camera and would never think of using something like Photoshop to do anything other than minor contrast work.

Ha! A dull gray sky is still a dull gray sky. Phooey on dull gray skies.

I took that picture to Photoshop CS6, found me a nice blue sky with some clouds and came up with this:

University of San Diego with a beautiful sky

 

I’m getting much better replacing skies, but if I didn’t tell you what I did, would you know? If I gave you the 109 MB TIFF file, you could still see some areas that are a little shoddy, and I’m working on my skills in those areas. For a 57KB Internet picture, though, no one would ever know. Well, maybe San Diego natives would know if I told them I took the picture on a May morning…. 🙂

 

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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

Unknown bird

The best way to learn anything is to do it, and then practice, practice, practice!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmother

 

My wise old grandmother, she with the first grade public school education but a Ph.D. from the School of Hard Knocks, told me that the best way to learn anything is to do it, and then practice, practice, practice.

Over at YouTube, I found a pretty good video of how to replace skies using Photoshop. Go have a look at it because it’s helped me tremendously. Still frustrating — but down to just one beer per session….

Remembering my wise old grandmother’s WWW (Wise Words of Wisdom), I’ve been exploring all the various functions while replacing that sky using this picture of an unknown bird (Avian101?):

Unknown bird

 

I loved the way the bird was perched there but the background, oh that dastardly background.

After playing around in Photoshop, I came up with this:

Unknown bird

 

What I did was take the following picture of a cloudy sky,

Cloudy sky

 

…apply a Gaussian blur to it and then insert it as the background of the picture. I had a hard time finding just the right blur to look realistic and using all the selection tools to let the sky mask out the parts of the bird picture that I didn’t want.

My main problem was finding a cloud picture that was dark enough to be pretty but light enough so that I didn’t get the halo/ghosting effect around the bird. My next goal is to learn how to use the Refine Edge, Feathering, Smoothing, and other controls to prevent that halo/ghosting effect regardless of the pictures I use.

 

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

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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

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

Two birds cropped in Lightroom 4

SNIPPETS — #4: Photoshop or Lightroom?

Snippets

 

I really like photography. I like taking pictures, but I freely admit that I have as much fun at the computer modifying those pictures as I did taking them. To that end, I have lots of digital photo editing programs: Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta, Adobe Lightroom 4, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Corel PaintShop Pro X4, Corel Photo-Paint X6, and Corel Draw! X6. I also will occasionally do something using Word 2010’s photo functions; they are more powerful than you might think.

I don’t have the free programs like Picassa, Picnik, Gimp, etc. I have tried them but either didn’t like how they took over my computer or didn’t like how they worked. I think if one of them happens to be the first digital photo editing program you ever use, you’ll probably do fine with it.

My favorite program is Lightroom 4. I like its layout, its functions, how easy it is to use the functions, and how easy it is to return to any specific editing point. It’s even easy to start all over without losing the history of what you did previously.

I will also admit that I’m trying to make Photoshop my standard bearer since it’s the industry standard. I’ve been making that effort for eight months now, but I’m failing. There are things that I just don’t like above Photoshop, such as how it handles cropping and the result of that cropping.

As an example, here is a picture from a February birding expedition that I wanted to crop:

Original picture of two birds

 

The picture was taken with a Canon 550D at its highest resolution, so it’s a
5184 x 3455 pixel image with lots of cropping room.

In Photoshop CS6 Beta, I cropped the image and then applied Properties, Levels, Lighten Shadows and got this:

Two birds cropped in Photoshop CS6 Beta

 

It’s a little washed out, but does document the birds I saw since this was a birding expedition.

In Lightroom 4, I cropped and then moved the Basic, Shadows slider from 0 to 25. That gave me this:

Two birds cropped in Lightroom 4

 

I like the Lightroom 4 picture better. I’m 100% certain that I can make the Photoshop CS6 Beta picture look identical to the Lightroom 4 picture, probably better. However, at what cost, in terms of time and money? Photoshop CS(x) is $699. Lightroom 4 is $149.

For pictures that are just documenting something, and are not actually very good to begin with (in other words they won’t appear anywhere on the Internet), Lightroom 4 comes out the winner in terms of money and time.

 

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will also have a picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

 

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