July, 2016 Photoshop SIG Notes


The main topic was meant to be how to change a photo to a line sketch. Turns out that this will only take 30 minutes to explain. The remaining time will be used for questions and answers and discussion of solutions to individual problems.

Topic 1 – Changing an image to a line sketch suitable for framing
Many people have a problem similar to mine – I cannot draw very well. In fact, I draw really badly.

Photoshop has come to the rescue for people like me. It is possible to use  PS/PE to convert a photo to a line sketch.

If you Google “Photoshop CS6  photo to sketch”, you get a massive 690,000 hits. Here  are some YouTube videos that I found of interest while preparing these notes:
(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsd8dNFtbOg
(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K43-_zhQZiM
(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi8rr1TcCX8

But I still prefer something that I can read at my own pace or even more radical – print it and hold it in my hands and turn the pages. How good is that! And how old does that make me? Here is the website that I felt most comfortable with: http://www.graphic-design.com/Photoshop/pencil_sketch/.

To quote from the website:

Tim Shelbourne writes…
Ask any artist and they’ll tell you that all the tubes of paint in the world cannot replace the simple pencil when it comes to artistic potential. Through the centuries, the litmus test of an artist’s ability was demonstrated best through the medium of drawing. In days of yore, student painters spent years drawing with graphite to hone their skills.

The so-called “Sketch Filters” in Photoshop consistently yield very disappointing results; re-creating the quintessential sketch demands a little more inventiveness and an approach that mimics traditional techniques. Pencil sketches work especially well when very soft leaded pencils are used on a tinted paper, with a few touches of white chalk here and there to heighten the tones. This is what we’ll produce here, digitally.

Don’t worry if your drawing abilities aren’t up to snuff, all that’s required here is the ability to scribble!

So let’s get started.
(1) Open up one of your photos.

I am using  a picture of the family cat. This month his nickname is Garfie Barfie since I seem to have been overfeeding him. He has worked out that all that he needs to do is to keep yowling and sit next to his food bowl and that I will top it up just to get him to be quiet. Here he is.

Garfie Barfie on July 1, 2016

Garfie Barfie after a few weeks of overfeeding.

(2) Now give the file another name and save it as a .psd some place that you can find it easily. Mine is named  Garfie Barfie on July 1, 2016 and saved to July SIG Notes/Images.

Image 2 - Garfie Barfie on July 1, 2016

(3) Duplicate the layer by clicking on Layer/Duplicate Layer.
(4) Click OK when the dialogue box comes up. It looks like this:

Image 3 - Duplicate Layer Dialogue Box

Click on image to see in full size.

Or you can use the keyboard shortcut of Control + J to do the same thing.

(5) Desaturate the duplicate layer (remove any colours other than black, white and shades of grey) the layer by clicking on Image/Adjustments/Desaturate.

Or you could use the keyboard shortcut of Control + Shift+ U.

(6) Double click on the duplicate layer and rename it as Desaturated Barfie. Now it looks like this:

Image 4 - Desaturated Barfie

Click on image to see in full size.

(7) Duplicate the Desaturated Barfie layer by pressing Control +J.
(8) Change the Blend mode to Colour Dodge. Here is what we have now:

Image 5 - Choosing Colour Dodge as the blend mode

(9) Invert the layer by clicking on Image/Adjustments/Invert. The image will disappear.Do not pull out your hair. It is meant to look like that.

Image 6 - Invert the Desaturated Barfie Copy layer

You know what to do! Click on the image to see it in full size.

(10) The next step might need a few tries. So let’s change the layer to a Smart Object. Right click on the top layer and choose Convert to Smart Object. This will let us come back and make any changes to the filter we are about to add. Looks like this:

Image 7 - Convert the Desaturated Barfie Copy layer to a Smart Object

Click on the image to see in full size.

(11) We want to apply a Gaussian blur next. Click on Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur. Make sure the Preview box is ticked.

Image 8 - Applying the filter

Click on image to see in full size.

(12) Move the slider back and forth until you reach the result that you want. The effect that you want is that of a pencil sketch rather than a photograph.
(13) To make the lines darker and thicker, add a levels adjustment layer by clicking on the icon in the blue square shown below.
(14) Move the slider shown in the red rectangle over to  the right to increase the density of the sketch lines.

That pretty well completes the photo to sketch that we set out to try.

If we want to add a bit of colour to it, this is easily done.

(15) Click on the original background later that you started with to make it active.
(16) Duplicate the layer by pressing Control + J.
(17) Now drag the Background Copy up to the top of the layers.
(18) Change the opacity to get a mix of colour and the sketch effect.
(19) Finally, cycle through your blend modes until you find one that you like.  Here is what I finished up with:

Image 10 -Final image of Barfie

Barfie after duplicating the background layer and moving it to the top of the stack. then adjusting the opacity and Blend mode to get my final coloured sketch.

First, I would pick an image of something other than a white furry cat. There is just not enough contrast to in the image that I chose to get a good sketch effect.

Second, it was both frustrating and helpful to find there are so many different ways of getting this effect. The smart filter meant that I could go back and make adjustments to the Blur filter without losing the rest of the  effect.

Third, I hope that you will have a chance to give this a go. I have learned heaps trying as well as horrifying friends that let me take their portrait and wind up looking like the Serial Killer/Music Star segments shown in the Spicks and Specks music quiz show on the ABC.

I realise now that it will take a lot more effort and time to produce a better effect that will be more flattering than my present attempts.

But as the stock car race driver said after spinning out his car and rolling it several times, “Wow! What a ride.”

That’s all, folks!

Posted in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Post Processing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s on for the June SIG?

Photoshop Training Room
Bill Oldham: photoshop@ausom.net.au
Photoshop SIG website: https://2014photoshopsig.wordpress.com/

The Photoshop SIG aims to present a new topic each month to meet requests from its members. This is followed up with a monthly challenge to encourage members to try out what they were shown at the SIG or that they read about on the SIG website.

In general the SIG tries to cover both Photoshop Elements (PE) and Photoshop (PS)
users. However, there may be times when a Photoshop feature is not part of Photoshop Elements.

In the May SIG
(1) We began with a demo of what you can do with some of the NIK effects available for free from Google (https://www.google.com/nikcollection/).
(2) Next we looked at how to use Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to make initial adjustments to an image before bringing it into PS or PE. We looked at how to use either Lightroom, PS, or PE to open an image in ACR.
(3) Then there was a demo of using the basic editing page in ACR to enhance an image.
(4) Lastly, we looked at how to make a selection and then what to do with it once we had selected it.

This month in June 2016
The topic for June is going to be an introduction to to the various selection tools in PS and PE and examples of ways that they can be used. Such as how to apply:
(1) a gradient to a selection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48dXz7eni4A)
(2) a texture to a selection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnB2NUIb1h0)
(3) a filter to a selection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9y-7_c5G1o)
(4) a stroke to a selection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mcfyb04XHAE)
(5) change the colour of a selection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9fwiNyDHLI)
(6) an image to fit inside a shape (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeVaYjcsz3E)

I hope that you have a chance to try these tutorials and share your experiences with each other at the June SIG meeting.

Photoshop one on one
If anyone wants to sit down with me for a one on one Photoshop session, please let me know. It’s BYOC. Please email me at photoshop@ausom.net.au to arrange a time, if you interested.

Hope to see you there.

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June 2016 PS/PE SIG – Selections in PS/PE


(1) These can be found online in a slightly different format (with cartoons!) at https://2014photoshopsig.wordpress.com/.
(2) Thanks again to the Harvest Bakery in Balwyn for their kind donation of goodies for morning tea at the Retirees SIG.


After the May SIG meeting, the general consensus was to look at how to make selections in greater depth and also at ways to use them.

You can find out more about selections from these websites that have video/pdf that may be of interest to you.
(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sv58Mp6KZmM
2) https://helpx.adobe.com/pdf/photoshop-elements_reference.pdf

Finally, most of my information for the topics of selections, channels and masks comes from a good online course by David Cross. A bit pricey at $US 97, but well worth the money. Find out more at https://fineartgrunge.com/selections/.

Why selections?
(1) They let you isolate a part of an image so that you are working only on the isolated area. Once selected, the area stays selected until you deselect it (Control + D). This means that you cannot get any other tools to work until it is deselected. Another way to deselect is to click once outside the selected area.
(2) Making a selection is the first step in a series of what you may have planned.
(3) Better yet, any selections that you make can be saved and loaded at a later step. This involves the use of channels. (Select/Save Selection). Another topic for July perhaps.
(4) The selection can be turned into a layer mask. Another possible topic for July, perhaps?
(5) Use channels to make a selection instead of one of the usual tools such as the rectangular marquee tool.

How to make selections and to use layers to replace a sky in an image
This is a topic that we have already covered before. You can revise it by going to there:

If you seem to be coming up with a strange selection time after time, make sure that the Style box is set to Normal rather than Fixed Size.

What does that little box marked feathering do?
Feathering allows you to set a degree of blur to the selection of your edges. This can be good and bad. The bad part is that it is a destructive edit. Once you have done it, it cannot be undone. So use it carefully.

Using the marquee tool
(1) Holding down the shift key at the same time that you click and drag out your selection will give you a perfect square/circle.
(2) Most of the time you drag diagonally. However, there are times when you might want to draw outwards from the centre, such as when wanting to select the face of a clock. To do this, hold down the Alt key as well as the Shift key. Voila!

Click here to download a clock face to practice on (upon which to practice?).

Image 1 – Clock face for selection practice

(3) Did you draw your selection in the wrong spot? Before releasing your mouse button (hopefully), hold down your space bar and you can move your selection to a new location. Then release your mouse button!

Using the lasso tool
(1) Remember that as soon as you let go of the mouse button, the lasso will automatically go to the starting point to close the selection. This can be both good and bad. Bad in the sense that you were not expecting it to close by itself. Good in the sense that there is nothing to double click to get it to close as with some of the other tools.
(2) Do not waste your time trying to draw around the outline of a shape to select it. That is not how to use the Lasso. Use it to improve a selection that needs something added or subtracted to it.

Using the polygonal tool
(1) Use this for when you have a lot of straight edges.
(2) As you get closer to your starting point, you will see a small circle apear as part of your cursor. Looks like this:

For more information, give this website a try:

Using the Magic Wand tool
This used to be the most popular selection a few years ago. We’ll have a brief look at to discuss the constraints in the tool bar – sample size, tolerance, anti alias, and contiguous. These are shown in the image below:

Magic Wand tool bar

The magic wand tool makes a selection based on the pixel colour rather than click and drag as we have done with the Marquee tools. If you start with a Point Sample, you may only get a few pixels selected. you can improve on this by normally using a 3 by 3 Average.

The next box is your tolerance range. The higher that the number is, then the more pixels are selected. but as a guideline, keep the tolerance low. The upper end is 256 which gives the same result as Select All.

If you have any curves as part of your selection,  then you want to have the Anti-alias box checked. This tells PS/PE to smooth out the edges of the curved section.

If you want to select pixels that lie next to each other, then tick the contiguous box. The definition of contiguous means next to each other. It’s not one of those words that you can drop into your cocktail party conversations, is it?

But in general, you will be better off using the Quick Selection Tool. So let’s look at it next.

Using the Quick Selection Tool
The Quick Selection tool differs from the Magic Wand tool  in that it detects edges rather than pixel colours. Here is what the toolbar looks like:

Quick Selection Tool bar(1) Leave the Auto Enhance box ticked for most of your work. If you have a really large file, and the processing bar comes up and takes a while to complete, then it is time to untick the Auto Enhance button.
(2) Leave the Add Selection button (the one with the paintbrush and the plus sign) selected.
(3) You can make your brush larger/smaller by using the square bracket keys. “[” for smaller and “]” for larger.
(4) We will discuss the Refine edge option later on.

For more information, read all about it at:

Using the Pen Tool (Either Oh boy! or Arghhh!)
The Pen tool has caused more angst than any other Photoshop feature. PE users need not worry because as far as I know, it is not in PE.

I am going to dip out of any pen tool discussions for the moment. For those of you that are really keen, then you can find out all about it at:

But the best exercise that I have come across is at: http://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/photoshops-pen-tool-the-comprehensive-guide–psd-718.
Download the practice file and become better with the pen tool by  doing rather than just reading.

Tweaking your selection for the bits that need to be added or subtracted
If you hold down the shift key, you will be adding to your selection. And if you hold down the Alt key, then you will be subtracting from your selection. Let’s try it with the image below. You can click on the image and download it to your own computer.

Orange round object

(1) Any suggestions for which tool to try and use to select the orange coloured berry? There is a hint in there for you – the word “colour.” Good. You suggested the Quick Selection (QS to make life a bit easier) tool. Well done!
(2) I need to zoom in on the photo to make it easier to see my selection with the QS tool. I hit Control and + on my keyboard to get the image up to  67% where I can see it all right. This is difficult to do on your iPhone screen!
(3) To move around the image, press the space bar down as you click and drag with your mouse.
(3) After using the QS, this is what I have selected.

Selection with QS

It looks a bit lumpy! So we need to tweak it a bit using the Lasso tool and the shift and alt keys.
(4) Zoom in even more. Note that if you lose your selection, then click on Select/Reload to get it back.
(5) Click on the Lasso tool.  When I hold down the Shift key, the cursor changes and now  has a + as part of it. When I hold down the Alt key, the cursor now ha a – as part of it.
(6) This is going to have to be a demo. It is not possible to get a screen shot to show you. So we can watch the first three minutes of this video clip from:

Putting it all together
(1) Go to this website and download the image to your computer.

(2) Open the image in PS/PE.
(3) Press control + J to copy the image. (So that you can always go back to your  original photo.)
(4) Use the rectangular Marquee tool to select Figure 1 of the moon. It Looks like this:

Image 8 - Select the moon photo

(5) Now press Control + J to get a copy of the image on another layer.
(6) Now turn off the Eyeball in the background image. You should have something that  lo0ks like this.

Image 9 - Selection copied to another layer

Click here to see in full size.

(7) Now that you have the moonimage selectefd on its own layer, use the elliptical marquee to select the moon.
(8) Now use Control + J to put the moon selection onto its own layer. Voila! You have done it. It should look like this:

Image 10 – Moon selection placed onits own layer.

Image 10 - Placing the moon onto its own layer

(9) Now use a variety of the selection tools to put each of he remaining images onto a separate layer.

In conclusion, I hope that this has started you on the path to being able to use selections as part of your plans to enhance your images.

But there is also the easier way of using the presets in Lightroom to accomplish something similar. This might be a topic for August?

That’s it for this month.

I’m always interested to hear what you are doing from the comments that you make in the blog pages.

That’s all, folks!



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Thursday, May 5, 2016

This is a follow up to the SIG notes in the May AUSOM News magazine.

In the May SIG
(1) We began with a demo of what you can do with some of the NIK effects available for free from Google (https://www.google.com/nikcollection/).

(2) Next we looked at how to use Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) to make initial adjustments to an image before bringing it into PS or PE. We looked at how to use either Lightroom, PS, or PE to open an image in ACR.

(3) Then there was a demo of using the basic editing page in ACR to enhance an image.

(4) Lastly, we looked at how to make a selection and then what to do with it once we had selected it.

All of this is being written before the actual SIG on Saturday. It could turn out that with the AGM running over time that we only cover a small part of what I hoped to get through. If that is the case, then we will continue on with it next month.

Part 1 – Using the NIK collection (free from Google)
After downloading the 430 MB file and waiting 15 minutes for it to finish downloading, your next step is click on the file to open it.

(1) Go to https://www.google.com/nikcollection/ and click on the text that says MAC.

Image 1 - Download NIK

For Mac users, click on the text that says MAC, decide where to save it, and sit back and wait while it downloads.

(2) Here is how it looks in my browser (Google Chrome).

Image 2 - open the NIK file

Depending on your browser, when the download is complete, click on the file.

(3) A small dialogue box pops up and asks you “Do you trust this computer?” Say a silent prayer and then click “Yes I do!” And remember what happened the last time that you said “I do.”

(4) Open one of your images in Photoshop.

(5) Click on Layer/Duplicate Layer. This is one way to preserve the original file in case you forgot to do the usual (create a working copy of the file and rename it WIP for work in progress.

(6) Click on Filter/NIK Collection/Analog Efex Pro 2. The cat tail that you see is that of Ottalie, who belongs to the previous Photoshop guru.

Image 3 - open the NIK Collection and the AnalogEfex 2 Pro module

Click on image to see in full size.

(7) For today, we are only going to pick one of the ready made presets to try. And now we’ll try the one marked Camera 1 on the left hand side of the image below. Scroll down through the other six or seven presets to see if there is one that you prefer. I’m going to try the one titled “I’m feeling lucky.”

Image 4 - choices from the AnalogEfex 2 Pro module

Try the “I’m feeling lucky!” option.

(8) Now is a good time to go and get a cup of coffee while the new look image is rendered.

(9) I don’t know why, but it seems to work better if you first click on the Brush button, then wait until the image is rendered, and then click on the Apply button. Otherwise, it seems to just grind to a halt on my computer.

Image 5 - applying AnalogEfex 2 Pro module

Click on the Brush Button. Have a cuppa while it renders the image. Then click on the Apply button.

(10) That is as far as we will go with the NIK collection for this month. It is over to you to have a play with the different modules and see what you come up with. There is a video that gives a good explanation at http://greylearning.com/courses/nik-bundle.

Part 2 – Intro to Selections
There will be times that you might want to change only part of a snapshot. This is where knowing how to make a selection and how to use it can be helpful. Here are the following websites that I have shamelessly used in putting these notes together:

  1. http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/selections/why-make-selections/
  2. http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/selections/rectangular-marquee-tool/
  3. http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/selections/elliptical-marquee-tool/
  4. http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/selections/lasso-tool/
  5. http://www.photoshopessentials.com/basics/selections/polygonal-lasso-tool/.

What I would like to do here is show you how to make a selection and then to use it for a particular purpose. So let’s look at a few.

Painting a piece of fruit a different colour from the others around it.
(1) Open up the image shown here by doing a copy and save of the image to your computer.

(2) Let’s change the colour of the apple on the right to green.

(3) Open the photo in PS/PE.

(4) Duplicate the layer.

Image 7 - apples in Photoshop

Apples image opened up in Photoshop and layer duplicated (Control + J)

(5) Click on the Quick Selection Tool in the toolbar on the left hand side. If you get part of the selection in the wrong place, then hold down the Alt (Option key) key and make another selection. This actually subtracts from the original selection.

Image 8 - Quick Selection tool

Click on the Quick Selection Tool

(6) Press B to bring up your brush tool so that we can paint the apple.

Press B for Brush Tool. Settings are Normal Mode and 100% for Opacity and Flow. Use square bracket keys to change size of the brush.

Press B for Brush Tool. Settings are Normal Mode and 100% for Opacity and Flow. Use square bracket keys to change size of the brush.

(7) Change the foreground colour to a nice green.  The selection outline means that we are only painting in the selected area

Image 10 - paint your apple green

The selection means that you will only paint inside the selection. If you go over te edges, it will not show up.


(8) If I lower the opacity to say 20%, then I am able to get a feathered outline between the red and green colors. Let me know if you see an apple that looks like this!

Image 11 - green and red apple

Use a 20% opacity setting and several strokes of your brush to get a smooth blend from the green into the red.

(9) Done! Pat your self on the back.

Summary for May SIG
We have looked at how to download, install and use the NIK collection.

In the remaining time, we have made a start on Selection tools, and one way that they may be used.

For the June SIG
We will look in detail at the selection tools and different ways that they may be used.


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Posted in Enhancing an image, Photoshop, Post Processing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2016 May Photoshop SIG Notes

Note: You can find these notes online at https://2014photoshopsig.wordpress.com/.

  1. Breaking News
    Get the Nik collection for free. These are a set of PS/PE add ons that used to cost $500, then $150 and now for free. Download them from https://www.google.com/nikcollection/. Just click on the Download button and then choose Mac or PC.
  2. Learn how to use the Nik collection for free. Sign up here: http://greylearning.com/courses/nik-bundle.

There have been a few questions along the lines of:
(1) Where do I start?
(2) How do I start using the software that I have?

Part 1 – Where to start
The starting point is with getting your photos from your camera to your computer. You know by now that these should be saved in both Camera Raw and jpg format. Not sure how to do this with your camera? Then get out the manual and set your camera to saving photos in both formats.

Why would you want to do this? We have mentioned that the main advantage is that Camera Raw contains every detail of your photo. The jpg format throws out a lot of information that could help you to recover detail in the highlights and shadows of your photo.

Read more about it here:
(1) 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Shooting RAW (http://photographyconcentrate.com/10-reasons-why-you-should-be-shooting-raw/)
And here as well!
(2) 12 Answers To Your Burning Questions About Shooting Raw (http://photographyconcentrate.com/12-answers-to-your-burning-questions-about-shooting-raw/)

There. That is sorted. You have read the two websites and now understand the reasons for shooting and saving your snapshots in RAW. Whoops! Did you read your manual yet? No? Well, naughty. Go find it, take out your camera, and set it to Save RAW and jpg formats. I probably dislike reading an instruction manual even more than you do. But it is a necessary evil some times. Now go RTM.

Now that you have your file saved in RAW and jpg format, you can begin to edit your images in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). This is a good starting point for easy editing of your snapshots. It also gives you a background to understand and to better use the tools in PS/PE for enhancing your photos. So let’s make a start.

Part 2 – How to open the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) Module
Lightroom has a Develop module that is the same as the Adobe Camera Raw plug-in that comes with PS and PE. There is a different way to get to this point (your image open in ACR) depending on the program that you are using.
(A) Using Lightroom (the starting point for every photographer!)
(1) Use Finder to locate the Image that you want to open.
(2) Open Lightroom.

Image 1 - File-Import Photos

(3) Navigate to the folder that contains your image.
(4) Click on that folder.
(5) Click on the Import button as shown below:

Click on image to see in full size.

Click on image to see in full size.

(B) Using Photoshop Elements (PE)
(1) Open PE in the Organiser module.
(2) Select the image that you wish to edit.
(3) In the Editor module, click on File/Open in Camera Raw. This will work for a jpg as well as a Raw format.

Image 3 - Editor module and File-Open in Camera Raw

(C) Using Photoshop (PS)
(1) Open PS.
(2) Click on File/Open As.

Image 4 - File_Open As

(3) In the drop down menu, click on Photoshop Raw format.

Image 5 - Choose the PHOTOSHOP rAW FORMAT.

Finding this one hard to read? Same here. Click on the image to see in full size,

(4) Click on the file that you want to open in ACR.
(5) You file opens up magically in ACR and awaits for your editing pleasure.

You can get more information here:
(1) http://layersmagazine.com/editing-jpegs-and-tiffs-in-adobe-photoshop-camera-raw.html
(2) http://blogs.adobe.com/pselements/open-jpeg-files-in-adobe-camera-raw-in-photoshop-elements/

Well, that sort of takes care of how to get your image into ACR whether you are using PS/PE/LR. The next step is to have a look at what you can do in ACR to edit your photos

Part 3 – Using ACR to edit you image.
At this point, it does not matter which program that you might be using. We are at a good starting point to edit any photos.

There is a however!

However, this is where it gets to be hard yakker. You can choose how much or how little that you want to do with ACR. Here are a couple of sites to get you started:
(1) http://www.colourphil.co.uk/CS6-ACR7-raw-edits.shtml – This site gives you a brief introduction. Enough to get you started.
(2) http://www.photoshopactions.com/blogs/blog/43885573-adobe-camera-raw-101-a-basic-overview-and-why-you-should-make-it-part-of-your-workflow – Good one for beginners. Short and to the point.
(3) http://theagnosticprint.net/preparing-digital-files-for-printmaking/ – More than you might possibly want to know but very satisfying when you get to the end.

if you want to try a whole course that is online for free, than have a look at these two:
(4) http://nmsmithphotoshop1.weebly.com/lesson-1.html – Well structured.
(5) http://www.danscourses.com/Photoshop/ – This guy has everything! Worth a look.

Conclusion for the May Photoshop SIG Notes
These were started and prepared to meet the requests that have come up recently. I hope that the notes give you a starting point for easy editing and enhancement of your images. And remember that “Less is more.” Refrain from moving the Saturation slider all the way to 100%.

One on One is still available
If you want to join in the fun, email me (photoshop@ausom.net.au) to arrange a time between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Photoshop Challenge for June
Please send me Before and After photos of a snapshot the you have edited in ACR.

That’s all, folks!

Posted in Camera Raw, Enhancing an image, PE Organiser, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Post Processing | Leave a comment

Photoshop SIG Notes for April, 2016

Breaking News

  1. Get the Nik collection for free. These are a set of PS/PE add ons that used to cost $500, then $150 and now for free. Download them from https://www.google.com/nikcollection/. Just click on the Download button and then choose Mac or PC.
  2. Learn how to use the Nik collection for free. Sign up here: http://greylearning.com/courses/nik-bundle.

April SIG notes

April will be a hands on session (BYOC). So please bring along your laptop (or desktop if you want to). We will be looking at using the  PE Guided edit mode for retouching snapshots.

Adobe provides a whole series of videos about getting started with PE. You can see it here: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop-elements/tutorials.html

First Step – what needs to be done to the snapshot?
The first few things to consider are composition, cropping, brightness, contrast, exposure and colours. What can you do to enhance the photo?

Second Step – what does it look like in the Organiser with Smart Fix?
You know what to do by now:
(1) Make a copy of your image.
(2) Rename it something like my little pony WIP. jpg (CR2, tiff, etc.). This is so that you do not do anything destructive to the original file.
(3) Open the WIP in the Organiser.
(4) Click on the Smart Fix so that you can see what changes the Smart Fix has to suggest to you. This will give you a few ideas of where to start in the guided edit mode.
(5) Now open the original image in the Edit mode.
(6) A bit confused here? The Smart Fix in the Organiser is a destructive edit. You only have one chance to use the Undo command. Otherwise your original file is changed forever. That is why you made a copy of it to see how it looks in the Smart Fix  edit mode.

But when you open the original file in the Editor mode module, any changes that you make are kept in a separate file. So what ever changes that you make, they are non destructive and can still be undone.


Part 1 – The Guided edit mode from PE
Here is a screenshot of the steps that you might follow to enhance a snapshot. You pick the ones that you feel may be needed for retouching your photos. You do not have to do all of them.

Guided Edit image

Workflow suggested by PE Guided edit mode.

Before and after – or practice makes you better (if not perfect!)
Have a look at the before and after images below. What do you think has been done to the photo to enhance it?  Click on the image to see it in full size.

These images and the changes that were made are from the website at: http://www.clearprint.com/articles/printing/photoshop-enchancements-case-study

Image 2 Before

Image 1 – Before

Image 1 - Before


Image 3 - Before

Image 3 – Before


Your turn! Try these on your laptop.
Use PE to go through the steps in the Guided edit mode and see what you can do to enhance the photo. Write down the changes that you have made for each photo and why you believe that it looks better than before. This will be the basis for a bit of a discussion. Email me your final image so that we can put it up on the website.

Let’s compare notes. Here are the after images with the changes made. Does your image look anything like theirs?

If you cannot see any difference, then the problem could be with the projector that e are using today or with a monitor used at home. This is a great excuse to go out to Officeworks and pick up a new IPS FD 24 to 27 inch monitor.

Image 1 - After

Image 1 – After

The Photoshop edits for the Image 1 above were as follows:
– Cleaned up the paint on the outside of the building, to make it more uniform.
– Made the plants along the hill greener.
– Added ivy to the hill.
– Made the sky bluer.
– Enhanced the overall contrast of the image.
Source: http://www.clearprint.com/articles/printing/photoshop-enchancements-case-study

Image 2 - After

Image 2 – After

The Photoshop edits for the Image 2 above were as follows:
– Reduced the shadow under the eaves.
– Made the plants greener.
– Added plants to the flower bed.
– Brightened up and enhanced the color of the sky, ocean and palm tree.
Source: http://www.clearprint.com/articles/printing/photoshop-enchancements-case-study#sthash.0QIj7z0u.dpuf

Image 3 - After

Image 3 – After

The Photoshop edits for the Image 3 above were as follows:
– Brightened up the inside of the balcony.
– Brightened up and color-corrected the sky, ocean and palm trees.
– Took out the cars in the parking lot in front of the balcony.
– Source: http://www.clearprint.com/articles/printing/photoshop-enchancements-case-study#sthash.0QIj7z0u.dpuf

Here are the Before and Afters in a slide show to make it easier to compare the changes. So much for that idea. They all look  the same on my screen. Try here instead. It is a little better. Comes up a treat on a large 27″ screen.

Part 2 – What are the Photo Effects and how can I use them?
This is where the fun begins.
(7) Click on the V to the right of the Touchups. this will cause the list to shrink.
(8) Click on the V to the right of the Photo effects. This will cause the list to expand as shown in the image below.

Drop down list for Photo effects

The red circle shows the Photo Effects drop down list.

This gives you a variety of effects to try. Let’s look at two of them – the Zoom burst effect and the Vignette Effect.
(9) Click on the Zoom effect and follow the guided suggestions with your own image. Remember that you can revert back to your original photo by using Control + Shift + A or by clicking on Edit/Revert. Here is what I have at the start.


Start of Zoom effect

At the start of the Zoom burst effect. Click on the image to see it in full size

(10) Follow the steps in the guided edit. This may take a few goes. When you find one that you like, Do a Save  As command and it will be saved with the label Edited version 1, 2, etc. It looks like this in the organiser when you go back to have a look.

Organiser with version 1 edited

When you see an arrow head to the side of an image in the Organiser, it means that there are more versions of that image that have been saved. When you click on the arrow head, the other versions appear.

Part Three – the Photo Play part of Guided edit in PE
There are several interesting things to do with your image in the section called Photo Play. For this discussion, try the Picture Stack effect on your laptop.
(11) Click on the Picture Stack icon.
(12) Follow the steps in the Guided edit.

Part Four – The Challenge for May Photoshop/Photoshop Elements SIG
(1) Take one of your photos and use the guided edit in PE to enhance it. How far you go is up to you – Touchups, Photo Effects and/or PhotoPlay.
(2) Please send the Before and After photos to me (photoshop@ausom.net.au) so that I can put them up on the website.

Handy websites:

That’s all, folks!


Posted in Before/After, Enhancing an image, PE Organiser, Photoshop Elements, Post Processing, Retouching an image | Leave a comment

March 17, 2016 – Mornington Apple User Group Presentation

Hi everyone,

Here is the link to download the presentation notes as a pdf with active hyperlinks. Tries to save you the frustration of typing in the link.


If you have any questions, please contact me at photoshop@ausom.net.au.





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