How to Create a Story
I felt this needed to be updated since we haven't had a how-to in a while and the site has been completely revamped since the last time this kind of tutorial was done.
- Create a New Story
- Type your story whether it's just pictures or pictures and txt
- Insert popups where you want them placed in your story by either clicking in the story or highlighting the word that you want the popup to become.
- Then click on the popup icon located in the txt editor, then select the image you want be to placed into your story
- Repeat steps 3 & 4 (Illustrated HERE) until you've finished your story.
- Add tags, pick a thumbnail from the list located to the right of the editor, save and then publish!
VIOLA! You've created your first story with popups. YAY! Now, explore the site. Read about photographica through our Welcome Letter (drafted by various seasoned members) and then enjoy the site!
If by any chance you have published a story and realized there is a mistake, you may edit it at any time yourself and even delete them yourself. If you have problems, feel free to send me a PM.
On some side notes: if you wish to enter you shot into any a different sections (such as "my best shot") click the drop down menu to the right of the edit box or if you want to enter the story into the current challenge click the box under the heading "Bi-Weekly Challenge."
Displacement maps are grayscale images in psd format, whose brighness values are used to displace pixels in another image based on a set formula. The brightness values effect the image this way:
Medium Gray (50%)... does not effect the selected image.
Medium Gray to Black... each step value decrease in brightness moves the pixels in the selected image down and/or right a distance prescribed by you in the distort filter dialog box. Black is max movement.
Medium Gray to White... each step value increase in brightness moves the pixels in the selected image up and/or left a distance prescribed by you in the distort filter dialog box. White is max movement.
The dmap can only have one layer but can have more than one channel. If more than one channel the first determines horizontal displacement the second vertical. All others channels are ignored.
The dmap can be smaller than the image or larger and can be made to fit the image or tiled to fit the image.
It's usually a good idea to apply a small amount of gaussian blur to the dmap so that PS doesn't spend time trying to map each little variation in the dmap.
For demo here our dmap is a photo I took of our blanket converted to grayscale image the same size as the target image, 800x600 and has 1pixel of gaussian blur filer applied.
Open target image and select layer you want to displace.
Select Filter-->Distort-->Displace, a dialog box opens. (fig 1)
Setup dialog box as follows...
Enter 10 for both horizontal and vertical scale values.
Check Shrink To Fit.
Check Repeat Edge Pixels.
Select ok, new dialog box opens. (fig 2)
browse to where dmap grayscale psd is stored and select it.
Image should appear slightly smeared in the general shape of dmap like this.
Now we need to overlay the image with the dmap.
Open dmap psd file in separate window.
Select it and Ctrl-A to select all and Ctrl-C to copy, or drag it's layer over and drop on target window.
Select target image and Ctrl-V to paste dmap to new layer, not needed if you did drag and drop.
Select grayscale dmap layer on target image and change blend mode from normal to hard light and set it's layer opacity to about 65-75%. (fig 3)
This is just to get you started. You can increase the H/V scale values for more dramatic effect or only use one, Use the levels on the grayscale dmap to control whether it displaces the dark or the light areas. You can use a photo for the source of dmap or use the filters in PS like the cloud filter. Use your imagination and have fun. If you make something intresting post it so we can enjoy it too.
As always, this probably has mistakes and/or could be improved. If anyone has suggestions or corrections feel free to add them cause I want to learn too. I did it on the quick but I don't think I left anything major out.
Yet Another B/W Conversion...
Open the image you want to convert. You should have the layers pallete open if not select Windows-->Layers or hit F7. Should have something like this Figure 1
In layer palette, select background layer and hit <Ctrl-J> to copy current layer to new layer, or drag background layer to new layer icon at bottom of layer palette. Figure 2 You can bypass this step and work on the background layer but I'm used to versions that didn't have adjustment layers and like to keep a virgin down there.
Select new layer, if not already selected or background layer if using it. Click on half-light half-dark circle at bottom of layer window to open Create fill/adjustment layer menu select Channel Mixer option, or select Layer-->New Adjustment Layer-->Channel mixer. Figure 3
The channel mixer window will normally come up with blue set at 100%. Check the monochrome button and also the preview button. Adjust values for individual red, green, & blue channels... good start is 45,60,15 respectively. Find a set of values that get the desired result and click ok to save the adjustment layer. The constant slider lightens and darkens. Figure 4
If desired, before closing channel mixer you can save the parameters for use next time, or save the generic start values and load them next time you open channel mixer.
You can also create another adjustment layer, a Hue/Saturation layer, and tint the b/w you just made. Be sure to click the colorize button in the Hue/Sat window. Set the saturation level to about 10-15 for starts and play to your hearts content. Figure 5
You may have already known this technique, if so, sorry to take up your time, if not, then you have another thing to play with in CS2.
Converting to B/W...
There are a lot of different ways to convert color to b/w. One way which produces a different tonal feel than the more common RGB->Grayscale conversion is to use Lab color Mode. Lab color mode converts the image to a Lightness, a, and b, channels. The lightness channel is the value component of the image, a is the red-green component, b is the blue-yellow component. What we do is keep the lightness channel and delete both color channels. Here's how:
Open image. Click on Image-->Mode-->Lab Color to convert from RGB to Lab color.
Click on Windows -->Channels to open the channels palette. You should see a palette with 4 channels Lab, Lightness, a, and b. Drag the bottom channel b to the trash can icon. The channel palette names will change to Alpha 1 and Alpha 2. Drag Alpha 2 to the trash can icon. You are left with 1 channel that just has the tonal values from the image. You must convert the color mode to grayscale when done by clicking Image-->Mode-->Grayscale. Supposedly, if you try to convert back to RGB with no color info you can confuse PS.(I haven't tried it)
You now have a grayscale image with a different tonal structure than just converting to grayscale. You may or may not like the effect but it's another tool in the tool pouch. Experiment and have fun!
There are other ways besides RGB-Grayscale and zeroing the saturation. If you have one let everyone know about it.
Sharpening Images in Photoshop
When sharpening an image for presentation the easiest thing to do would be to choose Filter-->Sharpen-->Sharpen. However, there's no control over the results and generally your photo will be over-sharpened to the point of looking jaggy. You can "fade" the Sharpen effect here by choosing Edit-->Fade Sharpen but you have to guess at the percentage you want to change the sharpening, and this might take awhile to decide.
I don't pretend to know the capabilities of all the Sharpening tools in the Filter dropdown menu; there's Sharpen Edges, which seems to choose the highlights to sharpen; Sharpen More, which is even more extreme than just Sharpen; and Smart Sharpen, which can do wonderful work on an image and is worth its own tutorial by some enterprise-minded Photoshop fiend.
My tool of choice is File-->Sharpen-->Unsharp Mask. It seems to be the easiest way to find the right balance between crispness and softness in an image. Try it on an image of yours. When you choose it, you'll be confronted with a dialogue box. Type in these settings and see what you think: Amount: 50%. Radius: 1.0 pixels. Threshold: 0. You can experiment as much as you like, of course, to get the most pleasing result.
I just discovered (via PhotoshopTV) a great addendum to this hint. Open your image, which is more than likely in RGB mode. Convert it to Lab Color by choosing Image-->Mode-->Lab Color. Then, in the Channels Window (activated via Window-->Channels) click on Lightness and then apply the Unsharp Mask filter. Convert back to RGB, and you'll see a difference in the quality of the sharpness. By choosing to work just on the light parts of the image, it really sets it off against the darker.
Here's an image where I've applied the Unsharp Mask filter at the settings mentioned above: RGB.
And here's the same image opened in Lab Color and then the same Unsharp Mask settings: Lab Color. What do you think?
If you have your own methods for sharpening an image for presentation I'd love it if you shared them in the comments below. Please focus on sharpening, though--save other hints for future posts!
Build your own blue or green screen backdrop
Home made light tent for under $20
Put the object you are shooting in a tent. It works wonders. No direct light = no hot spots.
The size of the tent you need depends on the size of the objects you will be shooting and how much room you have. The one I built is about 3' X 3'. Bigger than most will need but if you have the room, go for it. If you have a folding table like a card table, make it to fit on it.
You will need:
- 10' lengths of 1/2 inch plastic pipe (sch 40) is fine
- T fittings
- 90º elbows
- End caps
A white sheet or material to cover the frame
Cut 2 pieces 24" (for the legs) and 2 pieces 34 1/2" from each 10' length. You should have a 3" piece left. Cut it in half. What you are looking to end up with is this when you are done. Dry fit it before gluing and work on a flat surface. Here is a close up of one of the corners so you can see how it goes together. Note the one do not glue joint. This will let you pull the legs off so it will store flat.
This shot shows the white paper background and floor in place. Use one long sheet and let it curve at the bend to give you a seamless look. Don't fold it. Now get your material and make your tent. I ended up a bit short on the sides. You really want it all the way to the bottom, across the top and down the back leaving the front only open. Place your lights to the side or from the top depending on how you want the shadows to fall. You do NOT want them shining in from the front. Remember.... we don't want direct light on the subject. You don't have to use strobe. Good old Home depot type shop lights will work fine but remember.. not too close. You don't want to burn down the house.
If you saw the violin post I made you saw what can be done in the tent. Here are a few more I took using it. Put a sheet of clear plexi glass in the bottom and play with reflections. Leave the plexi out for a more "normal" look. I ever mention that I like hats?
That should keep you playing and in where it's warm for a while. Feel free to ask questions.
Light Box Plans
Here's a site to show you how to make a cheap light box for taking pictures.
Converting to Infrared using Photoshop
First, open the image you want to work with. Keep in mind, when converting a color image to IR, you get better results if you use an image that has lots of greenery in it. Once you get the image open, click on the image icon at the top of the page and duplicate the image. Close the original, and just work with the duplicate. Once you do this, click on the layer icon and, in the drop down, go to New Adjustment Layer then over to channel mixer. Once you click here, another box will pop up; click ok here. Next, the channel mixer box will pop up. Be sure to check the Monochrome box in the lower left hand corner; when you do this, the image turns grayscale. You use the adjustments under red, green and blue to make the image b/w. If you're doing a landscape, the green needs to be maxed out at 200; for portraits, the red needs to be at 200. Play with the red and blue (or green and blue) until you have the effect you want. The constant slider near the bottom of the box changes brightness.
Once this is done, click on the layer icon again, and in the drop down, click on flatten image. From here, click on the filter icon, go down to blur and click on gaussian blur. Blur the image using the radius slider; you can watch the change as you do the adjusting. For images that are 25MB, the slider should be between 5-20 pixels. For a 5MB image, it should be between 2-10 pixels.
Next, click on the edit icon and in the drop down, go to fade gaussian blur. Once the box opens up, change the mode to overlay or screen. Just play with different modes to get the effect you want. Drag the opacity slider to the left to reduce the effect of the blur. Where it should be set varies with each image.
You are done, and ready to save your new image to wherever you choose to save it.
HIGH/LOW KEY PICTURES
When they say "High Key" what they mean is that the print is prodominantly with light tones. When they say "Low Key" they mean that the picture has prodominantly dark tones.
If you are trying to make a "High Key" or a "Low Key" print you have to have the correct background and subject. If you are taking a picture of a white dog and you would like to make a High Key print you would use some type of light background. You would not use a black background. The same thing if you would like to take a picture of a dark brown dog and you would like to make a Low Key Print, you would use some type of dark background. You would not use a black background as the black or dark brown dog would not show.
For a High Key effect your light must be full and soft. Fill lights on the shadows should be as strong as the key light. Backgrounds must have their own lights otherwise they will be too dark. For a Low Key effect do the opposite.
LOW KEY examples are found here....http://www.lafterhall.com/hurrell.html
HIGH KEY examples are found here...http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00Apib
Tutorials on how to achieve HIGH KEY in photoshop, you may have to play with some of the adjustments to suit your own likings.
One more link to a ton a fun PS tutorials on just about anything.
Hope this helps out.
Photolessongraphica JPEG, TIFF Saving and Sizing Part 2
OK, now that we have identified the problems with JPEG (and actually for some people these are not problems) how can we do things differently to overcome the shortcomings of JPEG's. Well let's use a different file type. We will use a Non-lossy File type. The most common of which is the TIFF file.
How Photographica Saves Images
This short article will inform you what goes on behind the scenes when you upload your image to Photographica. By knowing what kinds of things we do, you can ensure your image looks the way you intended.
Photolessongraphica JPEG, TIFF, Savings and Sizing Part 1
This article, in three parts, will discuss the most popular File Formats and how best to use and save files using each format. And then finally, how to Resize and Save your Photo Files for the best possible use, here on Photographica and elsewhere on the web.
Keyboard Shortcuts for Photoshop CS
I don't know about anyone else, but I live for keyboard shortcuts! I find that using the mouse can be very time consuming when working in Photoshop, and a lot of these shortcuts are very useful...
Color Correction Tutorial
DOF & TMI
Everyone it seems has been focusing (Hehehe) on Depth of Field when it is desirable to have a narrow or short Depth of Field. Portraits, Macros, Objects etc. but what happens if you desire the Opposite. A very Wide or Maximum Depth of Field. Such as in a Broad and Spectacular Landscape where you want everything in view to have the maximum Sharpness.
This is where another Part of DOF comes in: HyperFocal Distance... Ewwww Scary. OK Most of you will never use this but I will explain it anyway. When you take a shot, 1/3 of your DOF is in front of the point of Focus and 2/3 of it is behind your point of focus. When you take a Big Wide Landscape your camera normally will focus at infinity and with that you will loose 2/3rds of your Sharpness (Theoretically) so for every focal length and aperture and even Camera Type there is a Point closer to the camera that you can focus on that will give you the Maximum amount of Sharpness. This is your HyperFocus Distance. So how do I find the HyperFocal Distance oh Moosey one? Well it's a calculation but luckily if you really care you can get a chart or Buy a Tool or you can do as I did find a Calculator on the web and here is one: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
Yes it is a Depth of Field Calculator which is also very helpful but it also can be used to calculate HyperFocal Distance. What you need to know is: What your actual Focal length is for your lens. For 35 MM this is easy but if you have a Canon Digital Rebel or 20d you need to multiply your Focal Length by a Factor of 1.6 and For Nikon D50, 70, 100 you need to multiply by 1.5. For other Digital Cameras there is a Conversion calculator on this site also.
So, for my Example with My Canon 20d. I am shooting at 17mm which with the factor becomes a 27mm actual Focal length. I am shooting at an Aperture of f10. In the Calculator it told me that my HyperFocal Distance was 12.6 Ft. So I Set my Camera for Manual Focus and set it at 12.6 feet. I took this shot. Hyper 12 Feet Then I set the focus for Infinity and took this shot. Hyper Infinity Looking at the two you probably don't see any difference. But when I zoom in for a 100% Crop of an area you can see clearly that the HyperFocal Distance Focus shot is clearly sharper. Crop 12 Feet focus Crop Infinity Focus
So you say, yeah but you can't see that on the full shot you've show here. Correct on an 800 X 600 Image on screen, the difference is negligible. But when you blow up to say 13 X 19 Print the difference is clear or should I say a Clearer Picture resulting in Near Large Format quality for Landscape Prints.
OK, everybody Wake UPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!
P.S. when you get a chance play with different combinations of lenses and aperture in the DOF Calculator so you can see how DOF can go from as Little as an Inch to Many Feet depending on your Focal Length and Aperture. Yeah, I know... Boring
DOF and Focal Length
Another big factor in DOF is the focal length of your lens or where you have your zoom set. The wider the lens the more DOF you are going to have at the same focus distance. If you are shooting a flower and want a deep DOF, put your wide angel on and get as close as you can. If you want to blur the background, zoom in on that critter and back away from it.
To help show this I took the following shots. ALL were shot at 1/125 at F8 and focused on the same point. The only difference is the focal length of the zoom so the F stop used had nothing to do with the changes. This shows why when using a long lens to fill the frame with a hummingbird even from only 5 feet away it is so tough to get the whole bird in focus.
Hope this helps and also gives you something to play with and think about ;-)
Fish Eye effect using Photoshop
I was looking into what a fish eye lens will do and thought I wouldn't have much use for one but on a few photos it could be neat, so I looked around for some information on whether it could be done in Photoshop or not and it can, so here's the link in case anyone else is interested in it. I tried it and it looks kind of cool on certain photos.
Some Examples of a Fish Eye Lens:
Anyone who commented on this thread in the forum , feel free to add your feedback again in a comment here, especially those with tips on how to make this effect work better (enlarging the canvas size, for example...)
[editor's note, by coryking] Original thread about fisheye lenses
Posted for lilbit ...