Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Automatically created collections

Undertand the Collections in the Catalog panel in Lightroom

Some collections are created and maintained by Lightroom. You will find these in the Catalog panel in the Library module.

One of these, All Photographs, is a collection of all the photos in your Lightroom catalog. If you need to search all your images, click this before creating a search or filter.

The Previous Import Collection contains the images added to the catalog during the most recent import. As soon as new images are imported, the older images disappear from the Previous Import Collection.

Added by Previous Export is a collection of images you recently exported from Lightroom. When you did so, you selected the option to import the exported images back into Lightroom.

Quick Collection is a temporary collection that you can use to store images temporarily.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Photoshop Tip – Custom Workspaces

How to Create a Photoshop Workspace Just for You

I like Photoshop to open and “look the way I want to see it”. But sometimes ‘the way I want to see it’ is different than others. I’m fickle – but thankfully Photoshop plays nice with me – the secret is its Workspaces. These Workspaces let me preconfigure my Photoshop screen for various scenarios, to save them so I can reuse them, and to put everything back in its place when I mess them up.

If this sounds like something you could use – here’s how to give your Photoshop window a custom look with workspaces.

The first thing I do is to set up Photoshop the way you want it to look and that means hiding all the panels you don’t want to see and displaying those that you do.

Then arrange them on the screen exactly the way you want to see them. For me, I prefer my toolbar to be in two columns rather than one long one. I like my layers and paths palettes visible but not much else.

Once the screen is organized the way you want it to look, from the dropdown list in the top right corner choose Essentials > New Workspace and type a name for the workspace. Select the options for keyboard shortcuts and menus select and click Save.

You can repeat this process, if desired, and create other workspaces. You might make one for photo-editing, one for collage, one for illustration or one for videoing depending on your own personal needs.

In future you can set up your screen by choosing the workspace of your choice from the dropdown list.

If you move things around and things go a bit crazy it is easy to reset a workspace back to how it was when you last saved it.

To do this, first make sure you are viewing the workspace to reset and then open the Workspace menu and choose Reset .

Likewise you can return to Photoshop’s default workspace anytime by selecting Essentials then click Reset Essentials.

And one last word on workspaces…
If you want to see what’s new in Photoshop CS6 click the New in CS6 workspace and you can see what is new in Photoshop. Open a menu and any new options in it will show as blue on the menu.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Why you should use Collections


Understanding why you should use Collections in Lightroom

A Lightroom collection is different to a folder. A folder contains images but a Collection contains only pointers to those images, which exist somewhere on your disk. In Lightroom each image exists in just one folder but it might be in many different collections.

For this reason collections are a great way to organize your photos. For example, you can use collections to assemble images for printing or for creating a slideshow.

You can add images to a collection from one or many folders. So, collections are a great way to create a central location where you can view and work with a set of images that may be located in multiple folders on your disk. Because collections are merely pointers to your images they take up very little disk space.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Lightroom – Copyright Watermark Bulk amount of Images

If you have thousands of images to add a copyright watermark to, you can use Lightroom to do this very quickly. This video shows the workflow to use to import thousands of images into Lightroom and how to export them and create your own watermark to add to them. This is a minimalist workflow designed to process a lot of images very quickly.

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can copyright in bulk the images as you export them from Lightroom. One of my blog readers recently contacted me and asked me how easy it would be to add watermarks to a series of images that they had. And so this video is for them and for anybody else who’s considering applying a watermark to a lot of images all at once. And my suggestion is, and she had something like two and a half to three and a half thousand images, is that Lightroom is the tool to use.

So I’m going to get started and I actually have a folder of images that I am going to import into Lightroom to show you exactly how it will work. So I’m going to click on Import and then I’m going to select the folder that contains the images that I want to import in. So this would be the folders that contain the two and a half thousand or so images that this particular reader has. So I’m just looking for my particular set of images. And I know they’re here. So all I’m going to do to start off with is just to select the folder of images. And it’s these Cornwall images that I’m going to import. Now I’m going to add them to Lightroom. And in this case because I want to do this very quickly because all I want to do is to add watermarks to them, I’m going to select Minimal as my previews because that’s going to render everything very, very quickly. And because I want lots of images I’m going to deselect Don’t import selected duplicates. So all I’m going to do at this stage is now to click Import and bring those all into Lightroom.

Now the images are coming into Lightroom and I can start getting ready as soon as they’re in to export them with their watermarks. Now some of these are portrait orientation and some of them a landscape. That may or may not be an issue. I’m going to select the first image and Shift click on the last so that we can export them. I’m going to Right click and choose Export and then Export again. And this takes me to the Export dialogue. So the first thing I need to do is to determine where I want to export them to. So I’m just going to put them into a folder in my My Documents folder. And I’m just going to create a brand new folder for them. But I’m going to select My Documents as the location, and I’m going to put in a subfolder called watermark. And then I will check if I want to rename my files. I don’t want to rename them. The idea of this is to get in and out as quickly as possible.

I can convert them if they were not JPGs and I could select the quality for them. Again 85 percent quality might be sufficient. If you’re that particular reader 100 percent quality might be your preferred quality. I can resize them or not. So if I want to leave them at the exact same size I just deselect everything.

What we’re most concerned about here is this Watermark option. So I’ve got it selected, and I’m going to click it, and I can choose Edit Watermarks. So this means that I can now create my own watermark. So I’m just going to delete what’s here. I’m going to press and hold the Alt key as I type out 0169 on the keyboard because that gives me the copyright symbol, and I’m going to type my copyright text. And I’m going to do two lines. And it’s Helen Bradley, And you can see it up here and it’s up there because that’s where I’ve got it positioned right

now. Here’s the anchor. If I wanted it down the bottom corner I could place it there. And then there’s an inset which is inset off that option.

So I could push it further down into the corner if I wanted to or not. It looks like it’s also centered right now. And no it isn’t. It’s right justified. So we could left justify it or center it if we wanted to. And we can also resize it either by dragging on its sides or we can drag it just to make it bigger if we wanted to. So I’m going to inset this a little bit horizontally and a little bit vertically. But you could see that we have a lot of power in where we place it.

Its opacity is 100 percent. And I always suggest that you do apply a shadow to your text because the shadow will help its readability if it’s over a lighter background. So I would normally put a very, very small shadow. And you can change the angle so that you can make the shadow come from whatever angle that you want it to come from. I prefer mine to come from about 30 to 45, something like that, so it’s coming in from this angle here. And if you’re happy with that that’s all you need to do. So you click Save. And we’re going to save this. And we’ll call it test watermark, you can call it whatever you want your watermark to be called, and I’ll click Create. And it’s now being selected as the watermark for my images.

I’m going to select to after export to show in Explorer. But literally at this point we could have two and a half or three and a half thousand images selected and they would all be ready for export. And all I do is click Export and now they’re going out. They’re exported out of Lightroom. And when they appear in that folder in My Documents, which we’re going to see in a minute, here it is now, they’re all going to have the watermark on them. So if I double click on this image we’re going to see that the watermark is in place.

So that’s how easy it would be to apply a watermark. If that were all you wanted to do and you had thousands of images to do it with, that’s all you need do to watermark your images. Bring them into Lightroom, don’t even bother rendering big previews, just use the minimal, select to export them, click and create your watermark and then just click Go and Lightroom will just go and do it all for you.

I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Please if you have any questions feel free to pose them to me. I’m quite happy to make videos to answer questions. Look out for more of my videos on this YouTube channel. And follow me at where you’ll find more tips, tricks and tutorials for Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator and a whole lot more.

Helen Bradley

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Create an Import Preset

Save Time when importing photos by Creating an Import Preset

If you use the same options every time you import your images into Lightroom, you can create an Import Preset to speed up this task.

Start by selecting Import to open the Import dialog and go ahead and select those options you generally want to use and then locate the Import Preset option at the foot of the Import dialog. Click the drop-down list and choose Save Current Settings as New Preset. Type a name for the preset and save it.

In future you can select this preset when you are importing images. This gives you, at the very least, a starting point for your import as it sets up the import dialog to match the settings you saved. If you wish, you can make changes to the settings without altering the preset, allowing you to use it anytime.

You can create multiple import presets for different situations so you can select the most appropriate one to use each time you import photos.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Photoshop – Collage Effects with Blend Modes

Learn how to combine two images to make a collage. Includes use of Blend modes in Photoshop, color range color selection, clipping mask, layer mask, hue saturation adjustment layer, drop shadow layer style.

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can create some simple collage effects using blend modes in Photoshop. This is the effect that we’re going to create in this video tutorial. I’m going to show you how you can put the pieces of this together in just a few minutes using a couple of images and some blend modes.

We’re going to start off with this image and another one that I shot at the neon boneyard in Las Vegas, and that’s giving us the texture. And we’re going to combine these two images with a blend mode. And then we’re going to extract the color from this original image, this sort of orange color. And we’re going to recolor it using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. But if we wanted to leave it at this point we could leave it just with that additional color. And we’ll also going to add a drop shadow with a different color behind it.

So let’s see how we would create this effect. And I’m going to start with my two images, and I’m going to put one image into the other. So I’m going to grab this neon boneyard image and I’m just going to drag and drop its background layer in on top of this original image. I’m just going to size it so that it’s right over the top. And the first thing I would do with a collage like this is look and see what sort of opportunities I had with blend modes.

So I’ll generally select the first blend mode in the list, Dissolve, which generally gives me nothing at all. And now I can just arrow down and see what happens when I click on each of these blend modes. And all I’m looking for is something interesting. And you’ll generally get a better effect with this if you use images that are a little bit more textural and a little less like something where you don’t really particularly want to bring out of the image exactly what was in it. But you want to discover how these two images can interact with each other and what you can do with them as they interact. So that’s all the way down through the blend modes. And so I’m going to go back up and I’m going to settle on something that I want to use. And generally the most interesting bits are going to be in the overlay or the contrasty area. So in this area and sometimes even with lighten and darken.

So let’s just go up through these and find something that we like. And I’m thinking actually I might like something like this perhaps with the Opacity dragged down a little bit. Now what I want to do is to bring out the orange color in the original flower so that I can lighten them a little bit in this layer here. And what I’m going to do is create a duplicate of the background layer. And I’m going to drag it above the image. So right now all we’re seeing is this original background. And what I want to is to select the leaves in it.

Now the leaves are really bright colored here. So I’m going to choose Select. And in this case I’m going to use Color Range because it’s going to be the easiest way to select these leaves. Now either I can select on the sampled color and add to it this way by just clicking on these leaves or I could use just the reds and just grab the reds. But I think Sampled Colors is actually going to give me a slightly better effect here.

So let’s just go back to this and let’s choose Sampled Colors here and just click Ok. Now that has isolated the leaves here and what I want to do is to keep these leaves but drop the rest of the image out. And I’ll do that with a mask. And because my leaves are selected, all I need to do is to click on the Add Layer Mask icon. And what happens is that the leaves are then masked and left behind and the rest of the image is just dropped away. So this is the before and this is the after. And you can see we have brought in the color from these leaves.

Now if we wanted to we could even lighten this color. We’ve got some of the orange color in. But we may want to brighten it up even more. So I’ll make sure that my image layer is selected and choose Image, Adjustments. And then I could use levels or curves. I’m going to use levels, and I’ll just lighten this is a little bit and click Ok. Now in the earlier image that you saw we had actually colored these blue and it’s very easy to color them blue.

To do that we’ll choose Layer, New Adjustment Layer and we’ll choose a hue/saturation adjustment layer and just click Ok. Now I want this adjustment layer to only affect the red leaves so I’m going to clip this. So with this adjustment layer selected I’m going to choose Layer, Create Clipping Mask. And so anything that I do to this adjustment layer here is only going to affect the layer below, just these red flowers. So now let’s double click on the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and now we can go and make some changes to it. And I’m looking for a blue color which will either be at this end or this end of the hue slider. So I can get to either this sort of greeny blue if I wanted or I can get to a sort of purplely blue. I’m thinking the greeny blue will be pretty good here. And now I can adjust its saturation and its lightness from here. So when I have what I like I’m just going to close that dialogue. So that has recolored those leaves to a bluey color.

And finally let’s add a drop shadow behind the leaves. So I’m going to select the leaf layer, and I’m going to choose a drop shadow effect. Now drop shadows might start out being dark but they don’t have to end up being dark. So what I’m going to do is go and find a really cool color for this drop shadow. And I’m thinking a really, really bright pink will do me. So let’s choose that. And I want to up the opacity of this. I could set it to normal so it’s going to be a very, very pink shadow. And then I’m going to adjust the settings for this. Spread is going to be the size of the shadow and softness or size is going to give me some softness. But there’s a very small sweet spot here on this that I can very, very easily exceed. So I’m just going to add my shadow in. And I think I’m going to multiply blend mode my shadow, not apply it with the normal blend mode. Although I could use normal for example with a much lower opacity if I wanted to give it this sort of pinky color. I might leave it at that.

So there’s a way of creating some interesting collage effects. And all we’ve done is grabbed a couple of images and put them on top of each other and blended them with something that counts as being an interesting blend mode. And then I isolated the orange flowers in the image and brightened them up. I also added a drop shadow in a very contrasty color. And I added to a hue/saturation adjustment layer that only effects these orange flowers to use the brightness of them but to color them a different color. And you can do all sorts of things by just combining images. And that gives you lots of practice at making color selections, using clipping masks, using masks, using blend modes and just having a little bit of playtime and a little bit of fun creating interesting effects in Photoshop.

I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out for more of my tutorials on this YouTube channel and please like and comment on the tutorials if you would. Also visit my website at where you’ll find more tips, tricks and tutorials on Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop and a whole lot more.

Helen Bradley

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Ensure you import new images only

Avoid duplicate images in Lightroom by importing Only New Images

There is little that is more annoying than having duplicate images in your Lightroom catalog. Duplicate images not only take up room on your disk but they also bloat your catalog and can cause confusion when you are working with your images.

To ensure that you don’t import images that are already in your catalog, enable the Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates checkbox in the Import dialog. With that setting enabled you will no longer be able to select to import images that are already in the catalog. So any images that you can select to import aren’t duplicates so it is safe to import them.

This feature is particularly useful when you only want to import images from a camera card that you haven’t previously imported into the catalog.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Set the size for your Standard previews

Set the size of your Standard previews to match your screen size.

When you choose to render Standard previews you can choose how large the previews will be. You should do this because setting the size to match your screen size maintains a good balance between disk space the previews take up, the time they take to render, and general usability.

To configure the image preview size for Standard size previews, choose Edit > Catalog Settings (or Lightroom > Catalog Settings on the Mac) and select File Handling.

From the Standard Preview Size drop-down list, you can choose from one of four sizes; 1024, 1440, 1680 and 2048. Choose the size that matches the size of your monitor or which is a little smaller.

This setting will be applied to previews that you create on Import or which you create from inside the Library module itself.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Photoshop – Postage Style Copyright Stamp

Create a cancelled postal stamp watermark to use in Photoshop and Lightroom. See how to use the path tools to create the watermark and then save it as a png image with a transparent background so it can be used over your images.
This is the video explanation of the blog post on the same topic which you can find here:

Click Here for Photography School Tip Blog Post

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to create a postage style copyright stamp that you can use on your images. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can create a copyright symbol like this which is a couple of concentric circles and some wavy lines and text. And it’s got an overall texture to it.

This is a tutorial that I created for when one of my readers there was having a bit of difficulty following along. So that’s why I’ve created this as a video tutorial. And because of this I’m going to be doing it step-by-step as I did it for that particular tutorial on the Digital Photography School site. And you’ll see in the comments here just below the tutorial I’ve given you a link to that site if you want to follow along.

So the first thing that I did in that tutorial was to create a brand new image. So I’m going to do that now. I’m going to choose File and then New. And I’m going to do a letter size image, landscape. So it’s 11 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall, and it’s 300 pixels resolution, RGB color and the background contents are white. So I’m just going to click Ok. And here’s our starting image.

Now we’re going to add a new layer so I’m going to have my layers palette visible. So if you don’t have it visible choose Window and then Layers so that you can see it. And we’re going to add a new layer and we do that by clicking this little icon here. It’s the Add New Layer icon. It looks like I clicked it twice. So I only want one new layer here. And we’re going to draw our circles using the Ellipsis tool. And it’s here in the toolbar so let’s just have a look and see what we’re looking for.

We’re looking for this tool here. It’s the Ellipsis tool. And when you choose it you want to choose Paths from the tools option palette. Now the options are a little bit different in earlier versions of Photoshop. There are three icons here and you want to make sure that you click the icon that says Path when you mouse over it. They’re the exact same options. They just deliver differently. And this is Photoshop CS6’s version so I have Path selected.

I’m going to drag to draw an ellipsis, but you can see that this is going to be a sort of oval. I want it to be a circle so I’m going to hold Shift as I draw it. And if it’s not in the correct position before I let everything go I’m going to hold the Spacebar and move it into position, let go the Spacebar and just make sure that I have the outermost of my circles created. And when it’s dead right, I’ve still got the Shift key held, I’m going to let go of my Left Mouse button.

So now I have a circle the shape of this outer circle that we’re going to use. Now this is now going to be colored in and we want to stroke this circle. And we do this by going here to the Paths palette. Now the Paths palette you get to by choosing Window and then Paths. And the topmost path is going to be called your work path and that’s the one that you’re working with. This is this circle here. We want to stroke the circle with a brush so we’re going to go and select a brush to use.

So I’m going to click on my Brush tool and then I’m going to select the kind of brush that I want to use. And I’m going to use a hard sort of brush here. So I’m going to select that brush. It’s a hard brush. And let’s just check and see from the original tutorial just how big it needs to be. And apparently it needs to be 40 pixels. So let’s just take it up to around 40 pixels. That’s 39, but that’ll be fine.

I’m going to set black as my foreground color. So I’ve set my brush and my foreground color and what I want to do now is with this path selected I’m going to choose the option that says Stroke Path with Brush. So that’s this icon here. So I’ll click it to stroke the path with a brush. Now I’ve got a funny sort of stroke here and the reason is that my stroke is set to something I don’t want it to be set to. So let’s just wind that back with Edit, Undo.

Then I’m going to right click on this Path option here and choose Stroke Path. And I want to disable this option here, Simulate Pressure. I just want to stroke it with the brush so I’m going to click Ok. Now it’s working the way I want it to. So now I have my path stroked, well at least the outside stroked. Now I need to use the outside to make the inside because it’s going to be really easy to make a concentric circle. To do that I’m going to click on this tool here. It’s the Path Selection tool.

This is the one I want and it shares a position with the Direct Selection tool. But it’s the black one, the Path Selection tool that I want, and I’m going to click on my path so it is selected. Now I want to transform this. And the transformation handles have not appeared so I’m going to press Ctrl T to make them appear. I want to drag in on this handle. But I want to make sure that I don’t lose the circle and I want to make sure that I don’t lose the fact that it needs to be concentric. So I’m going to just hold down both Shift and Alt as I drag in on this handle. So let’s Shift Alt and drag inwards. And you can see that what I’m doing is making a concentric circle. It has the exact same middle as the original circle. I’m going to let go of my Left Mouse button and then let go of the shift and the Alt keys. Now my work path here is a much smaller path so I’m just going to click the checkmark here.

Now I’m going to do exactly the same thing. I’m going to select my brush and I’m going to stroke it, make sure black is my foreground color, and I’m going to stroke this path with the brush. And I get the exact same effect. Now what I need to do is to make a path for my type. And it needs to be a little bit bigger than this inside circle. So again, I’m going to click this Path Selection tool. I’m going to press Ctrl and T to show my handles, I’m going to hold down Alt and Shift, that’s Option and Shift on the Mac, and this time drag out just a little bit so that I get a path for my type, let go of the Left Mouse button, let go the rest of the keys and click the checkmark. Now I’m going to add my text. And to do that I’m going to select my Text tool and then select my type. And I want to use Myriad Pro.

So I’m going to go down here until I find Myriad Pro. And I think the type that I suggested in the article that we used was about 24 points so I’m going to click that. I have black as my type color. So everything looks pretty good. I’m going to hold my mouse over the line, over this path that is still selected, and when I do you’ll notice that the I-beam pointer changes from this I-beam to an I-beam with a short of squiggly line. That means I’m typing on the path. So I’m going to click to do that.

Now the first thing I need to do is to add my copyright symbol. So I’m going to hold down the Alt or Option key and type out 0169 on the keyboard because that gives me copyright, and now 2013, and I’m going to type my copyright details. And I think I’ll do this all in capitals. And I’m using Helen Bradley, And I think actually I just want to put a www in there so I’ll just arrow back and make that change.

Now so far my type hasn’t quite stretched all the way around my words. So the next thing we need to do is to stretch it just a little bit more. And I’m going to do that using the Character Spacing tool. So first of all, I’m going to make sure that all my text is selected and then I’m going to choose this dialogue here which will get me to the Character Spacing dialogue. Now this is two dialogues.

There’s a paragraph and a character, and we want the character. And what we want is this tool here, this VA tool. And it’s a scrubby slider so all I need to do is to adjust it a little bit. And can you see that the text is getting bigger every time I drag on it? And I think I’m going to wind that back just a little bit because I could probably add a trailing dash to this. And that’s now all the way around that shape. And let’s just up that to bold because I don’t think it’s really quite dark enough for me. And if I’m using bold I’ll going to have to wind back up on my character spacing a little bit. And so now I’ve created my text on a circle.

Now the only thing that I’m a little bit concerned about is I think that this circle could be a little bit smaller. So I’m going to reselect my text layer here, and again with Alt and Shift selected, I’m going to drag inwards just a little bit to resize that circle path that the text is on because I just think it was a little bit on the big side. So I’m a little bit happier with my text now.

So we’re ready now to go ahead and to create the wavy lines. And we’re going to do that by clicking on the Custom Shape tool here that shares that toolbar position with the Ellipse tool that we used earlier. But this time we want Custom Shape. And from the Shape dropdown list here what we’re looking for is this wiggly line wave shape. Now this is shipped with Photoshop so you will have the wave shape. If you don’t have it in your collection you can click this little fly out arrow and choose All to add all the shapes or append all the shapes to your shapes collection. But this is the one we’re using.

I’m going to drag the shape onto my image and then use the Path Selection tool to just move it into position. Now at the moment it’s a series of closed paths and I want to open these paths. And I’m going to do that by clicking here on the Add Anchor Point tool. Unfortunately you can’t just delete points in Photoshop to open up these curves.

We first of all have to add a point in here that we can then go and delete to open it up. It doesn’t work otherwise. It’s a bit of a nuisance. But this is how we’re going to do it. So I’m going to click once with this Add Anchor Point tool on the ends up all of the shapes. And now I’m going back to the Direct selection tool. And I’m going to make sure that I’m selected on this point that I just added, so it’s black and everything else around it is not, and I’m going to press the Delete key. And that will just break that path in two. And I’m going to repeat that for each of these points.

So select it and press Delete, select it, press Delete, select it, and press Delete. Now if Photoshop is running out of memory if you’ve been using it quite a bit, you might find as I just did earlier that that was not working. Every time I pressed Delete the entire path was going. So I just closed down Photoshop and reopened it and went back to where I was working and it’s working perfectly. So now I have my lines. And you’re probably beginning to see a pattern here because this is just another path. And we can stroke it because we have our tool that we can stroke it with.

So I’m just going to go back and make sure my brush is selected. The same brush is selected, black paint, click on the work path so that I have it selected and now I’m going to stroke it. And that is giving us our lines. And so if you wanted to leave it at this point you could because everything is in place. But I’m going to go ahead and add a Grunge effect to it.

Now we’re ready to create our Grunge effect. And to create that, first of all what we need to do is to flatten the image. But in flattening it I need to remove the white layer from the flattened version. That is because later on when I will put this copyright image over my photograph I want the background to be transparent. So I want to keep this white layer out of the action right now. So I have two visible layers. I’m going to click on the topmost layer and press Ctrl Alt Shift and E to create a new flattened version of this layer. So this is the version that I’m going to use. And now I’m going to bring in a texture layer.

So I have a texture image open here, and I think it’s a really nice texture to use. So I’ve got the texture open. And to add the texture to this particular layer I’m going to select the layer and click the Add Layer Mask icon because that adds a layer mask to the image. And now this texture has to be made the exact same size as this image so I’m going to choose Image and then Image Size. And I want to resize it to the exact same size as this one.

So I can do that by just clicking Window and just pointing to the image whose size I want to borrow. And that’s apparently the size of this image here so I’m just going to click Ok. And because it’s a texture image it doesn’t matter that I’m skewing it a bit out of proportion because nobody really knows what a scratch is supposed to look like. Having done this, and it’s critical that you resize the texture to the exact same size as this image or you can’t use this next technique, which is to apply the texture as a mask.

So I’m going to click on the mask, and I’m going to choose Image, Apply Image. And if you don’t have the texture file the exact same size it will not appear here. So it does obviously appear here so that’s exactly what I want. I want to apply the texture to the image. And at the moment it’s set to Multiply blend mode. But I can test other blend modes and I can even test inverting the layer. So I’m just going to look for the best effect that I can get here.

In fact in the tutorial I suggested that we use Hard Light. So that looks like the one that we’re going to use, Hard Light. So I’m just going to click it and click Ok. And that gives us the sort of texturize look to our shape. And again, I was going to create this as a new layer so I’ll click on this layer and again press Ctrl Alt Shift and E to gives me a newly stamped layer. Well it’s not appearing to work right now. So let’s just add a new layer and press Ctrl Alt Shift E because that will work. And then we’re going to save this as a PNG image. But before I do it I think it’s going to be cropped because I think it’s a bit too big at this stage.

So I’m just going to crop down to get rid of the bits of the image that I don’t want and click the checkmark. And now I’m going to save this but making sure that I have this background turned off because I want it to be a transparent image. So I’m going to save it as a PNG image. So I’ll choose File, Save as, and I’m going to call this HB copyright, black, and PNG. And I’m going to make sure that I select PNG from this list here. And here’s PNG. So I’m going to select it and just click Save and click Ok. And that’s now saved as a PNG image.

Having done that I then want to make it white. So I’m going to choose Image and then Adjustments and then I’m going to invert it so what was black becomes white. And now if I just test this with a black filled layer behind it, you’ll see that it’s now a white image. So we could use that to go over the top of for example a very dark image.

So having created that I’m going to turn off my background because I want this to be a transparent image, and I’m going to resave it this time as a PNG. But this time I’m going to call it white. So again, this is going to be HB copyright, and it’s going to be white, PNG. I’m going to save it as a PNG image, and Ok. And so this is now the copyright image that I can use on my images in future.

I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. And look out for more of my tutorials both on and also on my own website at

Helen Bradley

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Choose the best Preview option

How to choose the correct Preview option for your Lightroom images

In the Import dialog’s File Handling panel, you have options for rending previews for your images as you import them. These previews are used later on when you move to the Develop module to edit your images.

Minimal preview size makes for quick importing of your images but later on, when you’re actually working on your files you will have to wait as larger size previews are created. So the time you save on rendering previews on import has to be spent later on in rendering previews when you want to work on the images.

Selecting Standard previews is a good choice – these previews can be used when editing your images so they don’t have to be created later on – so you can get to editing the image more quickly although the import process will take a little longer.

1:1 preview size is typically not a good choice as the previews are unnecessarily large and it takes time to render them. It might sound like they are the best but it’s a poor trade off in time and size – if you have time to spare when importing, then Standard previews are an ideal choice.

Helen Bradley

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Understanding Import Options

Understanding Import Options

You have four import options for your photos – Copy as DNG, Copy, Move and Add. In some circumstances, not all these options are available – for example, you may choose Copy or Copy as DNG when importing from a camera card but you cannot select Move or Add when you are importing images from a card.

When you select one of these options that choice may affect the other options you have. For example, if you choose Add to add images to the catalog from a folder, you cannot choose to back up your files at the same time. You can also not convert RAW images to DNG if you are adding them to Lightroom.

So, if you want to convert images, or back up, or rename images as you import them, it is best to import them direct from your camera card. Copying them into a folder on your disk before adding them to your Lightroom catalog diminishes your options when working with your images.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Bulk Crop and Resize Image

Learn how to crop and resize in bulk in Lightroom. If you have a lot of images you need to, for example, crop to 5 x 7 and then save at a particular pixel size and resolution, you can learn how to do this quickly and effectively in Lightroom. This makes use of the tools in the Quick Develop panel in the Library module.

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can bulk crop and resize images and export them from Lightroom.

A reader recently posed a question to me and that was what do I do if I need to crop all my images to 5 by 7 in size and get them out as 500 by 700 pixel images. In Lightroom that’s not that difficult to do. What I suggest you do is you do it from the Library in Quick Develop mode. So I’m going to select the images here and then I’m going to select Crop Ratio and I’m going to choose 5 by 7. And that will crop all of these images to 5 by 7 images. But look what it’s done with the verticals. It’s cropped them to 5 by 7 but it’s kept that same vertical alignment.

So now let’s go to the Develop module and just see what we’re seeing here. This is the crop marquee. And you can see that this image, each one of these images in fact has been cropped to 5 by 7. And let’s go and find a vertical crop and see how it’s been cropped. Again, it’s been cropped to 5 by 7 but in a vertical direction. So this means that all of these images have automatically been cropped.

All we would do is have a quick look and make sure that important parts of the image have not been cropped off. If these were people we’d have a quick check to make sure that somebody’s head hasn’t been chopped off for example. And having done that now knowing that everything is cropped to 5 by 7, to export these images at 500 by 700 pixels in size or 700 by 500 we would select all of them by clicking on the first and Shift click on the last. I’m going to right click and choose Export and then Export again and we would just set up the Export option. So here I’m going to put this in a folder called 5 by 7.

I don’t want to rename these files. All we want to do is to resize them. But what I do want to do is I want to select Resize to Fit. And the longest edge since I know that these are all 5 by 7s is going to be 700 pixels and the resolution I can set to 100 pixels per inch. So these are then going to be 5 by 7 images at 100 pixels per inch resolution. And all I need to do is to click Export and Lightroom is going ahead and it is cropping and resizing all of those images so that they are all going to be the exact right size that we chose. And here they are including the ones that were verticals. You can see that these are 500 by 700 pixels in size. This one is 700 by 500 because it’s a landscape image.

So in Lightroom you could batch resize and export these images in just a matter of a few seconds by just choosing the right option. And that is here in the Quick Develop module setting a crop ratio for those images. This is not something you can do easily in the Develop module, but it’s something that you can do very, very simply here in the Quick Develop area of the Library in Lightroom.

My name is Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this Lightroom video tutorial. If you liked the tutorial please comment, press the Like button, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel. You’ll also find more of my tutorials, tips and tricks on my website at

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 for more tutorials on Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, GIMP, Lightroom, Illustrator and a whole lot more.

Helen Bradley