Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Word 2010 and 2013 Tip – Quickly Move Paragraphs

 Move a Paragraph, at Any Time, with Ease!

To quickly move a whole paragraph up or down a Word document, click in the paragraph and press Shift + Alt + Up Arrow (or Down Arrow).

The same key combination will move an entire table row up or down a table and, when the top or bottom of the table is reached, it detaches the table row from the table to create another table which will continue moving through the page. This is a quicker and simpler way to split a table.

This tip works in just about any version of Word.

Helen Bradley

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Show/Hide Panel Shortcuts

Show/Hide Panels with the Function Keys

Use the function keys F5, F6, F7 and F8 to clean up your Lightroom screen.

F5 controls the visibility of the top panel, F6 controls the bottom (Filmstrip) panel, F7 controls the left panel, and F8 controls the right panel. Pressing any one of these keys will hide or display the appropriate panel.

To hide all the panels, press Shift + Tab. To bring them back again, press Shift + Tab again.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Photoshop – Monochrome Stamp Effect

Learn to create a monochrome stamp effect from a photo in Photoshop. Includes using filters such as Posterize, black and white, threshold and the Photocopy and Stamp filter to adjust the image to get the effect. Also see how Dodge and Burn can help you fine tune the effect.

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can convert an image so that it looks like a stamped monochromatic image.

Before we get started on this tutorial this is the effect that we’re looking for. I have an original bird image here and what we’re going to do is to firstly get rid of the background around the bird. And then we’re going to convert it to black and white. We’ll posterize it and then we’ll apply a filter to it. And finally we’re going to apply the Threshold Adjustment. And we’re going to end up with this sort of stamped monochromatic effect from an original photograph. So let’s just hide that and let’s get started on the image that we’re working with. And I have a duplicate image sitting here.

Now I’ve already gone ahead and made the mask for this image so that we’re not wasting a lot of time cutting out the bird. But essentially what I would use is the Quick Select tool to just select over the bird. And then I made a duplicate of the background layer by just dragging it onto the New Layer icon and then just clicked this Layer Mask icon and that adds a layer mask to the image. So there’s the bit that we had selected. Then obviously I would make a much better selection and this would give me my isolated bird here.

So the next thing that we’re going to do is to convert this to black and white. So I’m going to click on the topmost layer and we’re going to do this using an adjustment layer. The reason for this is that it can then be redone later on if we don’t like the effect. So I’m going Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Black and White and click Ok, and here is the black and white adjustment.

Now what I’m looking for here is that we’re going to make this into a pure black and white only image later on so I want plenty of detail here. So I’m just going to walk these sliders in either direction to see where they go. And I want some edge detail because that’s going to define the birds so I probably want to bring the blue channels and the purple channels over towards the black. And let’s just see where the red gets us. I want to definitely see the bird’s eye so I want that to be different to the colors surrounding the bird. So I’m just looking for a reasonably good black and white conversion at this point, and I’ll just close that down.

Next we’re going to use Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Posterize. And what the posterize adjustment does is it flattens the image to a certain number of colors. They’re called levels but here we’ve got four levels of lightness and darkness. So if we had a color image we’d have four colors. And we can wind this up to a sort of surrealistic amount or we can take it back to a less realistic, more stylized amount. And that’s exactly what we want here.

But you’ll see that every time you change this it has different affects around the edge. So the difference between 5 and 7 and perhaps 6 and 5 is really quite significant. So I’m looking for a number of levels that gives me a good result. I’m worried about the eye disappearing here. Three is not enough. Four is a whole lot better. I really quite like that four so I’m just going to let that be what we’re using here. At this point if we were not getting the exact result that we like we could go back and dodge and burn on this layer. So we could grab the Dodge or Burn tools here to darken and lighten the image by clicking on these, taking the highlights, just make the brush a little bit smaller and perhaps brush around the edges here to darken it up which will ensure that later on we’re going to get some dark edges around the edge of our bird. So if that’s of concern to you selecting a tool such as Dodge or Burn will allow you to lighten and darken the areas around this bird that you want to have lighter or darker.

So for example if we really wanted to see this eye we could lighten the areas around the eye. So you can craft that to an extent using the Dodge and Burn tools here. So I’m just going to burn in a little bit around the top of the leg and the sides of the leg here, and perhaps just under the belly. So once we’ve done that I’m going to come up to the topmost layer and I’m going to make a flattened version of the image so far. And I do that by holding Ctrl and Alt and Shift and E, that’s Command, Option, Shift E on the Mac. And this gives us a flattened version of this that we can now apply a filter to.

I could use smart filters but the filter is just going to be fine for this. So I’m going to choose Filter and then Filter Gallery but before I do this I’m making sure I’ve got black and white as my foreground and background colors because the filter set that we’re using relies on black and white for the color. So if you don’t have black and white selected as the color it’s not going to be a black and white effect that you’re going to end up with. So I’m just going to drag this back in. And I used the Photocopy earlier, and I found that that was a really good result for me.

But you could also try the Stamp and see if in the light and dark balance you can get what you want with the Stamp. We’re going to get pretty much the Stamp effect by just using the Photocopy. But I’ve got a way of getting rid of these sort of almost blurry sort of gradient detail in the bird’s back. So I’m going to ignore that for now and just go for a good sort of stamped effect. I’m looking at the blacks and the whites in this image because that’s essentially what I’m going to get at the end of this. So I’m going to say that that’s good and click Ok.

And the final tool that we need to make these areas disappear is a Threshold Adjustment. And again, I’ll do this using an adjustment layer with Layer, New Adjustment layer and then Threshold. Now Threshold is an unusual sort of filter. What it does is it turns everything either pure black or pure white. There is no in between. And this selector here tells Photoshop at which point we want the colors to go to white or to black. So if we wind this back down a little bit we’re going to get rid of some of these areas in here and they’re become darker or lighter according to how we have this selected.

So I’m just going to go around about that midpoint because we do have this as an adjustment layer which means that if we make changes to this layer they will affect the adjustment layer. So I’m just going back to the Dodge tool here and just see if I can get rid of the very obvious sort of circling effect here, so I’ll just make that a little less obvious that that was something that got left behind with the Photocopy filter. Let’s just bring the exposure right up. And there’s our finished bird there. And we can do whatever we like with it.

You may want to save it out so that you could use it perhaps with a background color or something like that. But there’s this sort of stamped monochromatic effect created in Photoshop. And it’s done very easily by first just isolating the object and then converting it to black and white in a way that gives you the contrast that you want, posterize it to flatten it to some levels of color or levels of tonal range, create a brand new layer from that and apply a Photocopy or Stamp filter to it and then finally finish off with the Threshold Adjustment.

I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. If you liked the tutorial please Like it and comment on it and share it with your friends. Look out for more videos on my YouTube channel and visit projectwoman.com for more tutorials on Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, GIMP, Lightroom, Illustrator and a whole lot more.

Helen Bradley

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Discover more options with Alt (Option)

Learn to find some hidden options in Lightroom by using the Alt (Option) key

Some buttons and other features in Lightroom change depending on whether the Alt key (Option on the Mac) is pressed. For example in the Quick Develop panel in the Library module the Clarity and Vibrance options change to become Saturation and Sharpening when you hold the Alt (Option) key.

Also in the Library module the Import and Export buttons become Import Catalog and Export Catalog when the Alt (Option) key is selected. As you work in Lightroom, occasionally press the Alt or Option key to see if any useful options become visible when you do so.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Photography quick tip – add a frame

Looking to add something extra to your photos? Add a natural frame

When composing a photo, add more interest to the photo by framing it with something in the foreground.

You can use a window or tree to create a natural frame for a landscape or a building to give the image more depth.

Here the subject herself creates a frame for her reflection in the mirror.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Word 2010 and 2013 Tip – Creating a New Page… Instantly

How to make a New Page (or Page Break) When and Where you Want

To create a new page in a Word 2010 and 2013 document before you’ve reached the end of your current page, simply press CTRL + ENTER. This places a ‘…Page Break…’ in your document exactly where your insertion point was. It also moves the insertion point onto the top of the next page. You can see the page break marker if you select the ‘¶’ button on the Home tab of the Ribbon.

Lastly, if you need to, you can delete the page break by positioning the insertion point immediately in front of it and pressing Delete.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Choose the features to appear on your Toolbars

Learn to find and configure what displays on your Lightroom Toolbars

The toolbar which appears between the Filmstrip and the Loupe or Grid views can be configured to display a range of options. Click the down pointing arrow to choose which items to display on the toolbar from the popup menu. This is particularly useful when you are working on a laptop because there isn’t a lot of screen space. Also be aware that the toolbars for the Loupe and Grid views are different so you can set each independently of each other.

And, if your toolbar isn’t visible? Press T to toggle its visibility on and off.

Helen Bradley

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

iPhoto won’t enlarge images

Learn how to enlarge images from iPhoto – because it won’t do it for you!

If you try to export an image from iPhoto on the Mac you’ll be invited to resize it on export. Funny thing is that even if you ask for the size to be larger than the original iPhoto won’t warn you it is about to ignore your request – seriously! It happily takes the size you ask for and, if it is bigger than the original, it exports the image at the original size but doesn’t tell you it did so. So you can think you’ve been successful but you have not.

In short, you can’t enlarge or upsize an image from iPhoto. So here’s a simple solution – I use PIXizer.com. So, start from inside iPhoto, select an image and then select File > Export.

Then select to export the image as a JPEG maximum quality and leave the size set to Full Size – ie the original image size.

Then export the image to your desktop or somewhere else it will be easy to find.

Launch a browser and head to PIXizer.com.

Click Choose File and choose a file to upload and use the tabbed panels to choose the quality and image size. When you click to Preview Image the image is uploaded and resized. You can then click to download it and it will download automatically to your download folder.

I like the efficiency of PIXizer – it would be nice if iPhoto actually enlarged images but since it won’t – I now have a free and quick and easy solution when I need a quick image enlargement.

Helen Bradley

Helen Bradley

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Spring photo inspiration and how to capture great flower photos

Capture the magic of spring with great flower photos

There’s simply no better time to get out and take photographs than in Spring. The weather is great, the colors are spectacular and the flowers are at their peak. Flowers are great to photograph – they don’t get fractious and they don’t blink so they’re good subjects to practice your skills on. Here, I’ll introduce some techniques to try that will ensure you get great photos.

Get up close and personal
When you see a wonderful flower to photograph, move very close so the flower fills the camera’s viewfinder or its LCD screen. When you are this close, the camera won’t focus properly unless you set it to Macro mode – this is indicated by the flower icon and it’s usually easy to find. If you can’t see it, check your camera’s manual to learn how to set this mode. With macro mode set, you should see the flower in focus and you can take the shot.

Macro mode not only ensures the flower will look crisp and in focus but it also has the effect of blurring out the background detail. In macro mode your camera shoots with a short depth of field so only objects on the same plane as the flower should be in focus, things closer to you or further away than the flower won’t be in focus. This is an effect that photographers try to achieve. It is, however, critical that your camera focuses on the flower.

To check the camera is focusing correctly press the shutter release half down and check the LCD screen. If the object is out of focus, let go the shutter release, move the camera so the flower is centred in the screen and press half down again. When the focus is correct, continue to hold the button half down as you move the camera slightly to compose the shot. Then continue to press the button to take the shot.

Even though the background in the shot will be blurred in macro mode, you should still check that any background that is visible is not distracting. If it will ruin your shot, move and try shooting from higher up or lower down so the background isn’t as visible.

Apply the rule of thirds
Apply the Rule of thirds to your flower photography. This rule says you should divide the area being photographed into a grid like a tic tac toe board. Place something of interest along one of the horizontal or vertical lines or where the lines intersect. The result is that you’re not centering everything – and your photo will look much better.

Vary your position
Don’t take all your photos close up and, instead, look out for opportunities to photograph masses of flowers. If you position yourself carefully you can make a bank of flowers look as if they go on forever!

Include the kids
Occasionally, include children or other people in your flower photos for some added interest.

Shoot side on and from underneath
Vary how you shoot your flowers too. While it is typical to take photos of a flower looking into it, you don’t have to take them this way. Shooting from the side will show the shape of the flower and, in some cases, this is what makes them compelling subjects.

Unusual photos can also be taken shooting blind from under the flower. To do this, you’ll benefit from having a polarizing lens on your camera particularly if you’re photographing on a sunny day. This will cut a lot of the glare and give you deep saturated colors. Hold the camera at ground level under the flower and shoot up through the flower to the sky avoiding shooting direct into the sun. The results you’ll get will be of the “hit or miss” variety – because you can’t see what you’re shooting you’ll have to try a few times until you get results you like. However, you’ll get a totally new perspective on things and you just might be surprised at how interesting the photos are.

Walk and snap
If you’re lucky enough to live in a rural area, take a walk along your favorite towpath or lane and capture the wild flowers that are so often overlooked as subjects for photography. If you live in a city – visit a local park or photograph the colorful display of a local flower vendor. When you’re shooting up close, one flower is all you need to get a wonderful shot.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – how to find Invisible Clickable Rotation Options

Invisible Clickable Rotation Options

In the Print module, watch out for items that don’t even look like they are selectable. For example, in the Page panel’s Identity Plate area, when you have the Identity Plate check-box enabled you will see a small indicator to the right of it showing the current rotation in degrees.

When you click this you’ll see a popup menu offering other rotation options to choose from.

Helen Bradley

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