Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Photoshop – Craft a custom Black & White Photo

Learn how to craft a custom black and white image in Photoshop using the Black and White adjustment layer and a curves adjustment. The process also includes adding a simple vignette effect.

Transcript:

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.

Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can create a custom black and white conversion for your images in Photoshop.

Before we get started with this process let’s have a look and see what it is that we’re aiming at. Here is just a standard conversion to black and white of an image and I just used the desaturated command to get this image. And here is a more crafted version.

Here I’ve been able to make choices about exactly how my black and white image looks. And I like this one a whole lot better and I’m going to show you how you can create this affect yourself. And what we do is use a black and white adjustment layer to do it. So first of all I’m going to take all these layers and just trash them.

And let’s get started with this image which of course was originally a color image. Now one thing I did do to this image is I cropped the beam across the top of the image out of the way because I didn’t think that helped it at all. And now instead of doing a desaturation which you might do by choosing Image > Adjustments > Desaturate, which gives you this sort of flat conversion into black and white, we’re just going to undo that and we’re going to choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black and White.

Now this allows us to craft a black and white and what you get is a series of sliders. And you get a sort of standard black and white adjustment. But with these sliders you can determine how individual colors in the image are converted. Now right now I want you to look at this Konica Minolta sign here and it was originally blue.

Now you can see that if I take the blue slider towards the left it becomes very dark. If I take it towards the right we actually lose that sign completely. And this is the way that we craft our black and white image. All we need to do is to bring the sliders to where we want them to be to get the effect that we want on the image.

Now for me I wanted my greens to be a big lighter. So I’m going to take my greens to the lighter side of the slider and I’m testing each slider individually to see which gives me the effect that I’m looking for. And I’m looking for a bit of a moody image here.

So everything is going to be towards the darks for this image. But I might kick the occasional color up to light to that I get a little bit of variety in the image. And I’m just going to craft that until I get what I want and close the dialog.

Now the beauty of using an adjustment layer by choosing Layer > New Adjustment Layer is that this is now editable so I can double click on this adjustment layer at any time and I can redo the adjustment. I can tailor it again to my specific needs.

Having done this I wanted to really give this image a kick so I also added a couple of adjustments to it and these were curves adjustments. I chose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and I did this twice because I wanted to use standard curves adjustment. So from the presets the first thing I did was I chose a strong contrast because I really, really wanted a contrast here.

But then I realized that that was over darkening it so I added another adjustment layer and this time I went for a lightening curves adjustment layer. So I just went straight back into Curves and this time chose Lighter because that gave me a lighter but still very strong contrast image. And I finished off with a vignette.

Now with the vignette I added a new layer so Layer > New Layer. And then I chose the Rectangular Marquee tool here on this brand new layer and I just selected inside the image, sort of around I guess about half an inch inside the image. Then with that selection in place I chose Select > Inverse so that now I have this very edge of the image selected.

And you can see that I made a really poor job of this so let’s go back and I missed the top of the image. Let’s try that again, select Inverse. Now it looks pretty even all the way around. I have a sort of brown selected here but it could be black. It could be anything. I’m going to press Alt Backspace or Option Delete on the Mac just to fill the selection with that color and then I’m going to deselect the selection with Select > Deselect.

I’m going to blend it in using a multiply blend mode because the multiply blend mode darkens everything. And you can see the darkening effect around the edge of the image when I turn it on and off. Of course it’s not only way too much but it’s also a really hard edge. So with this layer selected I’m going to choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur.

Gaussian Blur is my sort of go to blur because what it allows you to do is to really heavily blur the edges. Now I’m down at the very bottom of the image so that we can see the edge that we’ve got. This is it with a zero radius blur but as soon as I start increasing the blur you can see that it softens out nicely. So I’m just going to make it nice and soft and then bring down the opacity of it until I get what I want. So this is the original image and this is our new crafted black and white version.

And I think that for me is a lot more interesting than this particular version that I got by just choosing to desaturate the image. If you like this sort of dark, grungy sort of version or if you want to be able to craft your black and white images with a bit more control than just a one-step click select option then this is the tool you need to do it. Use the black and white adjustment layer and craft your own images.

I’m Helen Bradley.

Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out on this YouTube channel for more of my video tutorials.

And subscribe so that you’ll be advised when new tutorials are launched and also visit my website at projectwoman.com where you’ll find more tips, trick and tutorials on Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Illustrator and a whole lot more.

Helen Bradley

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Create ornate circles with shapes and color in Photoshop

See how to turn simple shapes in Photoshop into ornate circles. The process is simple and you can source the elements to use from the web as free shapes – I tell you where to get them from.

Transcript:

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.

Welcome to this video tutorial.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can make circular ornaments in Photoshop.

Before we get started with this tutorial let’s have a look and see what we’re aiming for.

This is one of the floral ornament shapes that I’ve created and I’m going to show you how you can create this quickly and easily in Photoshop.

And I’m using Photoshop CS6 for this technique.

If you’re using an earlier version you may need to adapt parts of the tutorial but you can still do it.

So let’s just close this down and let’s create a new document, File, New.

And it doesn’t really matter too much.

I’ve just got a 600 x 600 RGB document with a white background.

You can create pretty much anything.

Now before we actually start making our shapes we’re going to need to find some things to make them with and what I’ve done is I’ve located some places on the web that you can get these from.

So I’m going to this particular site here which is all-free-download.com.

It’s all-free-download.com.

And if you go searching for vector floral clipart you’ll be able to find this file here.

And this is the one that I’ve used so you just click it and then go ahead and download it.

And once you’ve downloaded it you can open it.

And I’ve got it open here now in Windows Explorer and I’ve actually gone ahead and extracted all the files.

And in this particular file there’s a floral clipart AI which is an Illustrator file and there’s also a CSH file.

And the CSH file is a Photoshop one so you can use that.

And what I did was I put the shapes in Photoshop’s shapes collection.

So I’m going to show you how you can do that now.

I’m just going to size the Photoshop screen down so that I can see the Photoshop screen as well as my Windows Explorer screen here.

And I’m going to grab the tools and I want the Shapes tool because I want the Shapes panel here.

So I’m going to open this up here and click this icon here which opens up the Shapes fly out menu.

And I’m going to choose Load Shapes because when I do that Photoshop takes me to the custom shapes location.

So this is where it expects the custom shapes to be.

So what I’m going to do is show here my Windows Explorer folder and I’m just going to drag and drop floral clipart into here.

In fact I’ve already done it.

You can see it’s here so I’m not going to drag it in a second time.

But you would drag the floral clipart CSH or the shapes file which is a Photoshop file into this custom shapes folder.

And when you do the custom shapes are now available inside Photoshop.

So you can close everything down.

I’ll just close this for now.

Okay, let’s go back to our document untitled2.

I’m going to make this screen, Photoshop screen, the full screen size.

So now we’re ready to go to our shapes.

I’m going to click here.

This is the Shapes collection.

Usually you’ll see the Rectangle tool but we’re actually going for the Custom Shape tool.

And because my image is 600 x 600 in size I’m going to put a couple of guides in here.

So I’m going to choose View, New Guide and I’m going to put a vertical one at 300 pixels, that’s 300 px, and click Ok.

And I’m going to go ahead and put a horizontal one in, click Horizontal, type 300 px and click Ok.

So now I have my center point marked and that’s just going to make things a whole lot easier in a minute.

So I’m going to create a new layer by just clicking the Create New layer icon here at the foot of the Layers palette because I want to work on an empty layer.

Now I used Kuler a little bit earlier to get my color scheme and I have a video on using Kuler in Photoshop that you may want to look at on this YouTube channel.

But basically what I did was I went to Window Extensions, Kuler and I launched Kuler.

Well, that’s just hidden it, hasn’t it.

So here’s Kuler and I went looking for flowers and I searched for flowers and I located a flower color scheme that I really like.

So I just clicked here and choose Add to Swatches Panel.

And here are the flower colors added to my Swatches panel so I thought we’d choose a different color flower this time.

So I can just tuck Kuler away because I don’t need it anymore.

I do need my Layers panel.

I do need my tools and I will like my swatches to be open.

So with the custom shape selected I’m going to go and first show you how you would add these shapes in because I’ve already done that.

But you’ll click the fly out menu and you should see your shapes in here.

They should be listed.

If they’re not then you can click Load Shapes and go and load the floral clipart shapes and click Load and then they’ll be loaded into your panel.

So they’ll be here.

Now I’ve got two sets of them but that doesn’t matter too much.

Now the first thing I’m going to do is choose one of these shapes to work with and the ones that I worked with were the fairly small ones, things like this or this that had sort of nice floral elements.

But they were fairly simple.

So I think we’re going to start with something a little bit more complex this time.

So let’s select this one.

I’m just going to click it.

And on the toolbar here I want to be working in shapes so I want this to be shape not path or pixels.

In earlier versions of Photoshop you will need to select an icon here.

It won’t be on a dropdown menu and you won’t have these features here for fill and stroke.

But you’ll be able to select the fill color and I don’t want a stroke on this at all.

But I do want a fill color and I’m going to select one of my floral colors that I used or grabbed from Kuler.

So now I’m going to make a blue shape with no stroke and I’m just going to draw it out here.

And I’m going to hold the Shift key so it’s constrained to its original proportions.

I’m just going to let go.

So you can see now I have this shape on a new layer and it’s just a blue shape.

I’m going to drag it into position.

Now I think in actual fact that I would like the bigger end on the outside so I’m going to drop it down here because that means that this bigger end is going to be on the outside of the circle as I work.

And now I’m going to press Ctrl or Command T because this gives me my Transform tools.

And what I want to do first of all is find this little marker that’s in the very, very center of the image.

And I’m going to drag it around and I’m going to pop it just right over the middle the image.

And then I’m going to set this option here this angle option to how many degrees I want to transform this image in.

And there is 360 degrees in a circle so we need something that will divide into 360 equally.

So for example if we want 10 shapes around it we could do 36 degrees.

Numbers like 30, 60, 45, 10 are good values.

I’m going to choose 30.

So I’m going to type in 30 here and you can see that the shape has started to rotate.

And I’m going to click the checkbox.

So it’s started its rotation and to complete the rotation all the way around the circle I’m going to hold Ctrl and Shift and Alt all at the same time.

So I’m going to press Ctrl, Shift, Alt on the Mac, that would be Command, Shift, Option and then the letter T for Transform.

And every time I press the letter T because I have Ctrl, Shift and Alt held down you can see that it’s adding another shape.

So all I have to do is to press the letter T enough times that my shapes creates an entire circle.

And here is my shape here.

Now you can leave it as a shape layer if you want to.

You can resize it if you want to by holding Shift and Alt as you drag in or out on the handles.

I’m going to drag mine out a little bit.

I think this is going to be the larger of the shapes and I’m going to click the checkmark to confirm it.

Now so that my computer doesn’t get stressed out with having such a large shape I’m going to rasterize this.

So I’m going to right click and just rasterize the layer.

But you could leave yours as shapes if you wanted to.

Now I’m just going to click Create a New Layer.

And we’re just going to repeat this over and over again.

So I’m going to choose my Shape tool, my Custom Shape tool.

I’m going to choose a different shape this time.

So I’m looking for something interesting that will complement the shape that I have here.

And last time I used this shape as my final shape so I think I’m going to do that again.

So we’ll wait for a minute before we use that.

But let’s go and get this one that’s sort of like a leaf shape.

I’ll click on it.

And now on a new layer I’m going to turn this layer off for a minute so that I can see what I’m doing here.

I’ve got no stroke.

I’m going to change my fill this time to a green color and I’m going to just drag out my leaf shape.

I’m going to hold the Shift key so it’s constrained to its original size and dimensions and I’m going to position it pretty much over the center of the image.

And I’m doing that by holding the Spacebar down as I drag it into position.

And now I’ve got my green shape.

I’m going to select the Move tool so I can now rotate it and press Ctrl or Command T.

I’m going to drag this little indicator into the very middle of the intersection where those two gridlines are.

So I’m going to rotate around that location and I’m going to select the amount of rotation.

And I’m going to use 30 degrees again so I’ll type 30 and then I’m going to press the checkmark here to accept that transformation.

Now I’ll press Ctrl, Alt, Shift T to repeat that transformation and copy that shape.

And I’m going to do that until I get all the way around the circle.

So this is my second shape and if I click to show my first shape I can see the two shapes as they’re interacting.

I think I want to change the size of my top shape so I’m going to select that layer and with Shift and Alt held down I’m going to size it so that it appears as a much smaller shape here.

And I many also want to rotate it for example because I initially set 30 degrees as my rotation.

If I rotate this through 15 degrees it’s going to be slightly offset.

And I think that will be a good choice here.

So now let’s go ahead and make a third shape, again creating a brand new layer, selecting the Custom Shape tool and this time I’m going to go for this sort of filler shape.

I think this one here is going to be a good choice although this leaf could be used as well.

I’m going to select it and select a different color to use.

This time I think I’m going to choose this very light green color.

I’m on a new layer.

I’m going to drag out my shape.

I’m going to hold the Spacebar to move it into position and perhaps even hold the Shift key so that it’s constrained to its original proportions the way it was drawn originally.

And then I’m going to let go the Mouse button and then let go the Shift key so that it is now drawn on this new layer.

Now this is really quite a big element so I’m not going to need to have too many of them.

I’m just going to use the Move tool to line it up very neatly here.

I’m going to press Ctrl or Command T to get into free transform mode.

I’m going to move its little indicator all the way down to the middle here so that it is going to rotate around the circle and this time I only want a small number.

So if I rotate it through 90 degrees I’m going to get four of these shapes on the screen.

And that will be plenty.

I’m going to press the checkmark here to confirm this transformation and then let’s go back and press Ctrl, Alt, Shift T to make the additional shapes.

I’m going to press that three times so that we get this finished shape.

Now I’m thinking this particular shape might look better with a border on it so I’m going back to the Shape tools and this time I’m going to select a stroke.

And I’m going to add a lighter green stroke around it.

I’m going to make it a single line stroke and I’m just going to make sure that the size of the stroke is correct or sufficient for my needs.

I’m thinking probably about a 2 point stroke will be nice.

And I’m going to again make this into a rasterized layer by right clicking and choose Rasterize Layer.

And so there’s my additional shape.

I’m now going to drag on my greenery layer and move it on top of the original layer and I can also resize this layer if I want to make it smaller or larger or even moving it behind everything else.

Now one of the things that you can do then is to make the background layer a different color such as black.

I’ve selected the background layer and I’m pressing Alt Backspace to fill it with black.

I can also add effects to these layers.

Let’s go to this greenery layer and let’s add an outer glow.

So I’m choosing the Add Layer Style icon here and I’m going to add an outer glow.

At the moment it’s a white glow.

So I’m just going to increase its spread a little bit.

You can see it’s some dimension and a little bit of a glowing effect here.

And then let’s go and get a green color from the underlying image and use that as our glow.

Now we may not want it to be quite as feathered and we may just want it to a more harsh sort of glow which is quite possible and just click Ok.

And then we can do the same for this shape here and we could add a glow to it, again, Outer Glow.

Again, I’m going to sample a color.

I’m actually going to sample this blue color and then use something in that sort of same color range perhaps a bluey green for my outer glow.

I’m going to increase the spread and also soften it up a little bit so it really looks like a glow.

Perhaps we could use a different blend mode such as lighten or we could play with overlay or color dodge.

Some of these will work and some of them may not.

But you can certainly experiment with how these interact with not only the black layer but also the green sort of colored layer below.

And I’ll click Ok and then I’m going to press Ctrl and the semicolon to turn off the gridlines.

Now this shape is very different from the shape we saw earlier.

It’s created in exactly the same way but you can see the color scheme and the actual elements that I used to create these shapes are quite different.

But I’ve got two very interesting shapes that I could now use as backgrounds or elements in a collage or for some other purpose.

It’s very easy to create these rotated shapes and lots of fun.

I’m Helen Bradley.

Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial.

Look out for more tutorials on this YouTube channel and follow me at projectwoman.com where my blogs include tips and tricks on Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, Photoshop Elements and a whole lot more.

Helen Bradley

Helen Bradley

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Make your Images look as Good as they Did in Camera

Lightroom Your Image Editing Starting Point Lightroom Tip   Make your Images look as Good as they Did in Camera

Editing your Image: Make your Image look as it did in you Camera

You may find that the Lightroom previews look different to those you’re used to seeing when you view the image in your camera.

To make them closer to the camera version, select the Camera Calibration panel in the Develop module and from the Profile list choose Camera Standard – this better matches more closely the image you saw on the back of your camera.

These profiles are a starting point for further adjusting your image so choose the one which works best for you.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Make an illustration in Photoshop using free fractal tree brushes

Learn how to download and install free fractal tree brushes and a texture and see how to use these to create your own Photoshop art.

Covers how to install brushes in Photoshop. How to add new layers, how to use masks and a gradient fill. Also shows how to add a drop shadow and an outer glow layer style. The land is created using a filled shape and made more organic using the Warp transform feature.

Transcript:

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley.

Welcome to this video tutorial.

In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can download and install the fractal tree brushes from projectwoman.com and how you can use them to make art in Photoshop.

Before we get started with this project let’s look and see what we’re going to do.

We’re going to create an image that’s something like this.

It uses one of the fractal tree brushes and also uses part of the brush to create a sort of highlight effect that is the result of the sun going down.

So we’re going to add our tree and then we’re going to make this sort of background look with this blue fill background and we’re going to use the texture that we’ve downloaded.

So I’m going to show you how you can put it all together using the brushes and a texture file.

I’m just going to tuck this away for now and let’s have a look and see where we’re going to get the bits and pieces that we need.

Well first of all we’re going to flicker to some images that are offered by a gentleman called Skeletal Mess and we’re going to download this image.

And it’s in his 2009 texture of the day.

So here it is, texture of the day 2009, and this is the one that you want.

So just click on it, from Actions choose View All Sizes and then you can just go and download the largest size of this image or the original.

It doesn’t really matter too much.

I’m just going to work on the larger size one for now.

So I’m going to open the folder that it has been stored in and its here.

And I’m just going to open it in Photoshop so I’m going to right click and I’m going to open with Photoshop CS6.

Well it’s not in the list there so I’m just going to go and grab Photoshop and we’ll just drag and drop it in there.

Okay, so the image is now in Photoshop and now we need to get our brushes.

And they’re available on my website so that is at projectwoman.com.

So you’re going to projectworman.com and click here on the Free Photoshop Brushes option and just scroll down because the ones we’re looking for here are the rendered fractural tree brush set.

So click on that and then click here to download the brush set and that’s going to download to your Download folder.

And what you’ll do then is just double click on the file so that you can locate and expand the fractal tree brushes file.

And you need this in Photoshop so again I’m going to tuck this just out of the way for now and open Photoshop because there’s a quick and easy way of installing brushes in Photoshop that I want to show you.

So the way I install brushes in Photoshop is to first go and get the brushes option here.

So I click on Brushes and I’ll choose the brush dropdown list here and then click here and go to Save Brushes.

And what that does is it shows me the folder where Photoshop brushes are saved and you can see here that it’s a long string of folders that you need to go through.

But it’s easier if you just open this up in Photoshop and then what you’ll do is you’re go and get your file, your brushes file that you downloaded and then just drag and drop it.

Now my machine is playing games with me right now so I’m just going to make Photoshop a little bit smaller and bring up my brushes file at the same time which is hiding all the way around here.

So let’s just go and get the brushes again and we’re going to open this up.

I’m going to go to Save Brushes.

So I open this folder.

Here are my fractal tree brushes and I’m just going to drag and drop them in there.

So that’s done now.

The brushes are installed where Photoshop can find them.

So what I need to do now with my brushes palette is to go and open that set of fractal tree brushes.

So here are the fractal tree brushes and when Photoshop asks me if I want to replace the current brushes, cancel or append I’m just going to select append because that’s going to add them to the very end of my brushes collection.

Now, I’ve added them twice but they’re here now.

So we’re ready to get started and create the effect that we had on this image here.

So any time that we work with an image like this we’ll want to be working on a new layer to paint our tree so I’m going to add a new layer.

I’m going to go and get my tree.

I’m just going to choose a tree to use.

I think this one this time.

I’m going to size it up using the open square bracket key and I’m going to select black.

So I want to be looking at my swatches.

So I’m going to select black as my foreground color and let’s also go and get our tools so that we can see what we’re doing here.

So I’m going to paint with black on this layer and I’ll probably press it a couple of times in the same place so I make sure I get a really dark tree there.

Now what I’d like behind the tree is some sort of a sort of land mass if you like so I’m going to select the Rectangular Marquee tool here and on a brand new layer I’m just going to drag out a rectangle behind the tree.

I’ve add a new layer below.

And I’m going to select a sort of dark reddish color as my foreground color.

That’s a sort of maroon.

Let’s go a bit more for dark red.

And I’m going to fill that layer with this.

Since it’s my foreground color I can press Alt Backspace, Option Delete to fill that layer.

To blend it in I’m just going to use the multiply blend mode because that gives me a darker sort of effect.

Now this is probably not dark enough for me so I’m just going to open the color up and let’s select a much darker version and again Alt Backspace, Option Delete.

So now I’ve pressed Command D to deselect the selection.

Now the land mass is a little bit too regular for me so I’m going to Ctrl Click on this layer and choose Edit and then Transform and then Warp because warp allows me to create a sort of a bit more organic land mass.

So I’m just going to do that very, very simple, not very much happening there at all.

Now we need our setting sun so again a new layer.

I’m going to select a sort of lighter color.

Let’s go for a sort of lighter orange color.

I’m going to use the Elliptical Marquee tool and drag a circle by holding the Shift key to constrain the ellipse to a circle.

I want to move it into position so I’m going to hold the Spacebar as I move the circle down into position, let go of the Left Mouse button and then let go the Spacebar and the Shift key.

Again, this orange is my foreground color so Alt Backspace, Option Delete on the Mac will fill the shape with this orange color.

Again, I think it’s way too light so I’m just going to redo that with a darker color.

Now I want my sun to be behind my land mass so I’m just going to drag on the sun layer and move it behind the land mass layer.

Now I think I’ll blend my sun in a little bit so I’ll probably select multiply as the blend mode to darken it.

And I also want to add a slight glow around the edge so I’m going to select the Add Layer Style option.

I’m going to add an outer glow here.

The white is not the color I want.

I really just want to grab the color that I had for the sun and maybe just go a little bit lighter than that as my outer glow.

Size is really the sort of ambit of the glow.

It’s not really how many pixels it is.

It’s a bit more feather than anything.

And spread is a bit more pixels.

So I’m just going to add that glow in.

And I can also multiply it if I want to so I can get a sort of darker glow.

Now I’m trying to keep things pretty light right now because I don’t want to be working on a totally dark image.

But what I do want here is I really want the tree all over.

Again, I want a sort of drop shadow for the tree.

So, one of the ways that I can do this is by just adding a light drop shadow layer.

2,368So I’m going to add a layer style.

I’m going to choose drop shadow but instead of doing a darker drop shadow I’m going to do a lighter drop shadow.

In fact let’s just sample the color from the sun for this and maybe just go a little bit lighter than that.

Maybe a little bit more yellow still, okay.

And this is going to be a drop shadow.

And we want it to look as if it’s coming from the sun so it’s going to be out this direction.

But we’re going to screen this because we want it to be lighter and we also don’t want it to be both sides of the tree.

So we’re going to just play around with the spread and the size until we get the slightest suggestion of lightening on this side of the tree but not too much, probably about 4 pixels.

Something like that looks pretty good to me so I’m going to click Ok to select it.

Now what I want is to be able to work on this shadow independent of the tree itself so I really want to move the shadow to a new layer.

So I’m going to right click that and choose Create Layer.

And what that does is it creates the drop shadow as a new layer so I’m just going to click Ok.

So here’s my drop shadow on a new layer.

And because it’s on a new layer I can add a mask to it by clicking the drop shadow layer and click the Add Mask icon.

I’m going to select my brushes.

Let’s just go and grab a brush.

And this time I’m going to select a soft, round brush, something like this, make it a bit larger.

I want to be painting with black because I want to paint out this shadow area and make sure I have the mask targeted and on this side of the tree I’m just going to remove the shadow.

Now because this is a mask layer I can switch and paint with white and I can bring the shading, the highlighting back anywhere I want it.

So I can just paint it on or off as I wish.

I think too I’m going to soften this edge because I think it’s a bit harsh.

And again a mask will do that.

Just click on the layer, click on the layer mask, click on black paint.

This time I’m going to reduce my opacity way down and just gently tip over the edge here, press X to go back.

So I can make that as dark or as light as I want and I can just sort of blend that in to the background by just switching colors, painting with black on the mask to blend it, painting with white to bring it back again.

Now what I did on the original image that we haven’t done right now is to add a blue to white layer over the top of this background layer to just blend everything in so I’m going to that now.

I’m just going to add a new layer.

I’m going to select the Gradient tool and then I’m going to select a sort of darkest blue.

I’m thinking it needs to be a bit darker and a big grayer than that.

So that sort of color blue to white.

So I’m just going to select white here or a light blue.

It doesn’t really matter too much.

And then we’re going to use the gradient to apply that.

So let’s just have a look.

We’re on this foreground to background gradient.

We have linear gradient selected.

We have the layer here and I’m just going to drag to fill it with the gradient.

And I’m holding the Shift key down as I do so my gradient goes in nice and level.

Now it’s going in blue at the top, white at the bottom and I’m just going to blend it using the multiply blend mode.

You can see that my edge here is way too much but we can go back and fix that, again with brush and again, painting with white this time.

I’m just going to be painting on this mask and just bring back that edge a little bit and then we could fix the tree up.

So there you have a small project that you can do using the fractal tree brushes to create a sort of sunset landscape image in Photoshop.

You now know how to download and install the brushes.

And you can find this interesting texture online at Flickr to use and you can go and create your own art in Photoshop.

I’m Helen Bradley.

Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial.

Look out for more of my video tutorials on this YouTube channel.

And visit projectwoman.com for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator and a whole lot more.

Helen Bradley

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Add a Vignette Effect to an image

Lightroom Add a Vignette Effect e1364262728521 Lightroom Tip   Add a Vignette Effect to an image

Learn how to darken the edges of an image using a Vignette in Lightroom

Vignettes are a darkening or lightening of the edges of an image – they can make an image look very attractive.

To add a vignette, open the Effects panel, set the Style to either Highlight Priority or Color Priority – Paint Overlay is the least attractive option. Drag to the left on the Amount slider to add a dark vignette and to the right to add a light one.

The Midpoint slider adjusts how the effect is applied to the edges of the image. Increase it to remove the vignette from the edges leaving it mainly in the corners.

Roundness controls the roundness of the vignette, drag to the left to make it more square, to the right to make it more circular. Feather controls the softness of the edges so use 0 for a hard-edge and 100 for a very soft edge.

Highlights applies when you use a negative Amount to create a darkened vignette. Zero gives no change and larger values preserve highlight contrast when you select Highlight Priority or Color Priority.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Sharpen only the edges in the image

Lightroom Mask the Sharpening Effect Lightroom Tip   Sharpen only the edges in the image

How to use the Masking Slider to limit image sharpening to only the edges in the image

The Masking slider in the Lightroom Detail panel allows you to control the areas of the image that are sharpened and those that are not.

Hold Alt (Option on the Mac) as you drag on the Masking slider. As you do you will see a black and white overlay on the image. The areas that are black are not sharpened, those that are white are sharpened. The farther you drag to the right the more the sharpening is limited to just the edges in the image where you want it to be applied to.

Drag on the slider to control just how much of the image you want to have sharpened. When you’re done, adjust the Amount to a value that makes sense for the image.

Helen Bradley

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – How to manage halos when sharpening

Lightroom Supress Halos with the Detail Slider Lightroom Tip   How to manage halos when sharpening

Learn how to suppress halos with the Detail Slider when Sharpening in Lightroom

The Detail slider in the Detail panel in Lightroom lets you suppress the haloes you create with the Radius slider.

At zero position you will fully suppress any halos and at 100 you will have no halo suppression so you will see all the halos added using the Detail slider.

This means that a low value for the Detail sider sharpens only the largest edges in the image and a large value for Detail will tend towards sharpening everything.

Hold Alt (Option on the Mac) as you drag on the Detail slider to see the effect on the halos around the edges in the image.

Typically if you use a high Radius value then you will want to use a low value for Detail and vice versa.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Using Amount and Radius when Sharpening

Lightroom Sharpening Amount and Radius Lightroom Tip   Using Amount and Radius when Sharpening

Learn how to fine tune sharpening with the Amount and Radius Sliders

The Detail panel in Lightroom controls sharpening on the image. Use the Amount slider to manage the intensity of the sharpening – set this to a high value to begin.

The Radius slider adds halos around the edges in the image which is what gives the sharpening effect.

For an image with lots of fine lines and detail such as a building select a low radius. For a portrait or an image with softer detail, use a high radius value.

Hold the Alt key (Option on the Mac) as you drag on the Radius slider to see the halos.

Helen Bradley

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Preparing to Sharpen an Image

Lightroom Preparing to Sharpen an Image Lightroom Tip   Preparing to Sharpen an Image

How to prepare your image for sharpening so you can make a good adjustment

To sharpen an image, first make sure that the main image is visible at a 1:1 ratio in size so you can see the resulting sharpening effect more clearly.

To control what appears in the Preview window, click the indicator in the top left of the Detail panel and click an area of the image to preview. Choose a good position on the image as a preview – something that needs to be good and sharp.

You can also click on the image in the Preview – click once to see the preview filled with the image and again to zoom into the image.

Drag the image in the Preview window to see different parts of it.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Using a Split Tone effect on a Black and White Image

Lightroom Split Tone a Black and White Lightroom Tip   Using a Split Tone effect on a Black and White Image

Split Toning a Black and White Image – learn how to make the Highlights and Shadows Different Colors

Split Toning applies one color to the highlights and another to the shadows in an image.

Good color choices when applying a split tone are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel such as magenta and green, blue and yellow, or red and cyan – although you can choose any combination you like.

To apply the split tone effect, drag on the Hue slider or click the color picker to choose a color to use for the Highlights and then choose something else to use for the Shadows.

Adjust the Saturation of the colors as desired.

Balance allows you to fine tune how the colors are applied to the image – drag to the left to adjust the balance towards the shadow color and drag to the right to add more of the highlight color.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Photoshop Tip – Create an Image Watermark

make a watermark image in photoshop opener Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Make a Watermark Reminiscent of a Post Office Stamp Cancellation

In a older post I talked about using an image watermark in Lightroom to apply to your images.

Lightroom Tip – Using Image Watermarks

Finally, in this post, I’ll show you how to create the watermark image to use.

This watermark has two concentric circles with text between them and a set of wavy lines making it look like a post office stamp cancellation. The watermark also has a slightly grunge look.

To make it, start in Photoshop with a letter size image. I set mine to landscape orientation with a white background. This will make it easy to create a black watermark and I will be able to see it as I work.

Add a new layer by choosing Layer > New > Layer. This is a transparent layer on which you’ll place the circles.

make a watermark image in photoshop step1 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Start with the Ellipsis Tool which shares a position in the Tools with the Rectangle tool – it is a shape tool – don’t use the Elliptical Marquee Tool.

Make sure that the option on the Tool Option bar is set to Path and hold Shift as you drag a circle on the screen.

make a watermark image in photoshop step2 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

When the circle is in position choose Window > Paths to view the Paths palette.

Select the Brush tool and select a brush. I used a Hard Round brush sized down to around 40 pixels.

Set the foreground color to black, click the Work Path in the Paths palette to select it and then click the Stroke Path with Brush icon at the foot of the Paths palette. This strokes the path with the current brush.

make a watermark image in photoshop step3 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Click the Path Selection Tool which shares a position in the Tools palette with the Direct Selection Tool. Click on the path and it will select the entire path.

If the transformation handles do not appear press Ctrl + T (Command + T on the Mac). Hold Shift and Alt (Shift and Option on the Mac) and drag inwards to create a circle which is concentric with the previous circle.

make a watermark image in photoshop step4 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Repeat the process of selecting the Brush, click on the path so it is selected and click to Stroke Path with Brush.

make a watermark image in photoshop step5 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Click the Path Selection Tool and, with this smaller circle selected, press Ctrl + T (Command + T on the Mac). Hold Shift and Alt (Shift and Option on the Mac) and drag a little outwards to create a circle path for typing the text along.

make a watermark image in photoshop step6 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Select the Text tool and hold the mouse over this third path.

Look for the text tool to show as an I-beam pointer with a bent line through it – this tells you Photoshop will align the text along the path.

Click once to anchor the Text tool to the path. Select the text color – in my case I chose black – and select the font and font size – I used Myriad Pro – 24 points. Type the text to use – I typed:

© 2012, Helen Bradley – projectwoman.com –

To enter © hold Alt and type 0169.

make a watermark image in photoshop step7 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

With the text selected display the Character palette by choosing Window > Character and adjust the tracking to expand the text so it wraps all the way around the shape.

make a watermark image in photoshop step8 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

You can draw your own lines for the cancellation lines using the Custom Shape Tool. First create a new layer then select the Wave shape and on the Tool Options bar make sure that it is set to Path.

make a watermark image in photoshop step9 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Drag to make your curved lines.

make a watermark image in photoshop step10 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Select the Add Anchor Point Tool (it shares a position with the Pen tool) and click once in the middle of each end of the path to add a point.

make a watermark image in photoshop step11 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Target the Direct Selection Tool, click one at a time on the Anchor points you just added and press Delete – this breaks the 3 paths in half to make 6 paths. When the Anchor is selected it will show as a dark filled square.

make a watermark image in photoshop step12 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Select your Brush and black paint and select the path in the Paths palette and click the Stroke Path with Brush icon.

make a watermark image in photoshop step13 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Once you’ve done this you can add a grunge effect.

Start by hiding the background layer, target the top layer and press Control + Alt + Shift + E to create a flattened layer with transparency. Hide all layers but this top one.

If the lines aren’t dark enough duplicate this layer a few times and they will darken. Then merge all these duplicated layers

To add the grunge effect click Add a Layer Mask icon at the foot of the layers palette to add a mask to the layer. Locate an interesting texture image to use such as this one from www.mayang.com/textures.

make a watermark image in photoshop step14 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Make it the same size as your image by choosing Image > Resize, deselect the Constrain Proportions checkbox and click Window and click your copyright image file to use its dimensions. Click Ok.

Now return to your Copyright image, click the mask to target it and choose Image > Apply Image. From the Source box select the texture image (it won’t appear in the list if it isn’t the right size), and then set the other options to suit so you get a distressed look to your copyright symbol. Click Ok.

make a watermark image in photoshop step15 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Add a new layer and press Control + Alt + Shift + E to create a flattened version of the image on this layer but maintaining its transparency. Make all other layers invisible and crop the image close around your shape.

Then choose File > Save As and save it as a .PNG image to use in Photoshop or Lightroom as a copyright overlay.

If you select the top layer and press Control + I you’ll invert it to make a white version of the copyright image that you can then save as a second .png file.

make a watermark image in photoshop step16 Photoshop Tip   Create an Image Watermark

Make sure to also save your file as a .psd file if you think you might need to make changes to it – for example, to change the date – a .png file is flattened so it won’t be easy to edit – a .psd file will be much easier to update.

Helen Bradley

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Craft a custom Black and White image

Lightroom Click and Drag Black and White Lightroom Tip   Craft a custom Black and White image

How to use the Targeted Adjustment Tool to get a better Black and White Image

In the Black & White mix dialog is a Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT).

You can use this TAT to craft your own black and white image.

To do this, select the TAT and drag up or down on an area of the image to lighten or darken the color under the TAT. This is often easier than dragging on the color sliders to adjust your black and white image.

The TAT is handy for crafting a black and white image to look the way you want it to look.

Helen Bradley

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Photoshop – Create an Oval Frame Effect

Learn how to create an oval frame effect in Photoshop. This video includes how to use a clipping mask, sample a color from an image, make a leaf brush, paint multi-color leaves on an image, add a stroke border to the oval frame and even change its color. This is a jam packed tutorial suitable for a competent beginner or intermediate level Photoshop user.

Transcript:
Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can make an oval framed photo effect in Photoshop. Before we get started doing this effect let’s have a look and see what it is that we’re aiming for.

What I’m going to do is take this image here and frame it inside an oval frame. And we’re going to add a little border stroke around the frame and then add these decorative elements. The colors for each of these elements is going to be sampled from the image and this is just a single brush that paints in different colors. So if you’re ready let’s get started with this tutorial. So if you’re ready let’s get started with this tutorial.

I’m going to begin here with a new image so I’ll click File, New and I’m just going to do an 11 by 8-1/2 letter size image. But you can make yours whatever size that you like. And here’s my image.

I’m going to center the oval so I’m going to start with a couple of guides. I want a 50 percent guide horizontal and a 50 percent vertical. It’s just a little bit easier to do this with guides. Then I’m going to target my marquee tool. I want the elliptical marquee tool. It shares a toolbar position with the rectangular marquee. But it’s the elliptical marquee that you want. I’m going to hold my mouse pointer over the intersection of these two gridlines and then hold Alt down as I drag out to create my oval. This creates an oval that’s centered over those lines. Of course if I add a Shift key at this point I’ll have everything constrained to a perfect circle centered on this document. But I want an oval so I’m going to let go of the Shift key but make sure that I keep the Alt key held down until I’ve finish drawing my shape. I’ll let go the left mouse button and then let go of the Alt key. This is my shape.

I’ll need a new layer so I’ll click the New Layer icon here and I’m going to fill this with black. So I’m just going to set black as my foreground color and Alt Backspace, Option Delete on the Mac. You can fill it with any color at all but I’m just using black. Now I can get rid of my guide so I’m going to click View and I’m going to clear my guides. I’m going to bring in my image here so I’m just going to drag on the background layer and just add it to this image. Now I want it centered so I’m going to press the Shift key as I center it over this image. I can now close this because I don’t need it any longer. I have my oval still selected. You can probably just see the marching ants there. Now that’s going to get in the way when I start to resize and move this image so I’m going to press Ctrl or Command D to deselect the marching ants. Now I’m going to target my move tool, Ctrl T, Ctrl 0 so I can see my handles. I’m just going to drag everything into position. I’m going to use the Shift key with that corner handle because that will drag everything in proportion. I’m now going to create a clipping mask.

So with this layer selected, Layer, Create Clipping Mask. Now I need to select that checkmark before I can do that so let’s create the clipping mask. And now let’s just fine- tune this image. And I think that’s a pretty good position for it. Now I want to focus on the background layer because I want to sample one of the colors from this image for the background layer. Now the image that we saw had a background which was sampled from the image. So I’m going to target the eyedropper tool here and I’m just going to target this little girl’s dress to get a color from her dress. And when I do you can see that the color is in the top of the ring here. That’s the one I’m going to select. And I have a 3 by 3 average so I’m averaging out the colors under the cursor. So I could go for a slightly lighter blue if I wanted. Let’s select that. And now with the background layer selected I’m going to Alt Backspace, Option Delete to add that color. Now let’s go and add a border around this oval. And to do that I’m going to need to reselect the oval. So I’m going to target the oval shape here, click on the magic wand tool here, it shares a toolbar position with the quick selection tool, but we want the magic wand. We want to make sure that Contiguous is selected. And now I’m just going to click here on this underlying shape which is this black shape here and that gives me this selection.

I’m going to add a new layer so I’m just going to make sure that my new layer goes in at the top and it’s not part of this clipping group. If it were I would have to right click it and choose Release Clipping Mask but it’s now not part of that group. You could see that the marching ants are in position so what we need to do now is to select the color to use. So again I’m going to use the eyedropper and I’m going to select a greeny color from the grass in the background here. So we’ll select that, Edit, Stroke. And you’ll need to experiment a bit with the stroke to see what works best with your image. But I found that a 20 pixel stroke on this particular image is pretty good so I’m just going to settle for a 20 pixel stroke. And I’m doing it over the center and I’ll click Ok. And there’s my stroke. To deselect the marching ants Ctrl or Command D. Now we’re in a position to brush on some leaves around the edge of this image. But to do so we’re going to need to create a brush first up. So let’s go and create a brush. If you’ve already created a brush or you have a brush that you want to use you can skip this step but I’m just going to show you quickly how I created my brush.

I’ll choose File, New and just click Ok. I just need any old document here. I’m going to select the custom shape tool here. It shares a toolbar position with the rectangle tool and these other tools. But it’s custom shape that I want. From the options here on the toolbar I want to select Pixels and I’m going to select black and white as my colors. In earlier versions of Photoshop you’ll still have these three options but they’re going to be side by side here. You just want to make sure that you select the fill pixels or the pixels option. Here I’m going to select a shape which is a leaf shape.

Now last time I selected this shape so let’s make a different shape this time. I’m going to select this one here and then I’m going to drag to draw it on the image. And I’m going to hold the Shift key down as I did so it’s constrained to a nice proportion. Now all I need do is to select Edit and then Define Brush Preset. And I’m going to call this leaf and click Ok. And that is now that shape is now saved as a brush so I can just discard this image. I don’t need it any longer. Now I can go and select my brush. So I’m going to target the brush tool and from the brush dropdown list here I’m going to select my brush. And my brush is always going to be the very, very last one in this brushes palette if I’ve just created it. So this is my brush.

I’m just going to click to select it and then just click outside here to hide that window. Now you can see that the brush is huge and way, way too big right now. So I’m just going to press the square bracket key, the opening square bracket key, to just size it down to size. Now if I start painting I’m first of all going to add a new layer and I’m going to just sample a color from this image. So let’s sample this orange color and let’s just see what happens if I start to paint. Well it’s not looking anything like what it is that we want it to look like. So I’m just going to Ctrl Z to get out of there and let’s go and set up our brush so it paints a little bit more intelligently. I’m going to click here to open the brush panel.

Now in the brush panel here the first thing I want to do is go to brush tip shape, tap on it and I’m going to increase the spacing because I want this brush to be spaced out quite a bit. I could change the size at this point if I wanted to but I’ve already measured this and it’s a pretty good size so I’m going to leave that. I’m going to enable Shape Dynamics and click on Shape Dynamics. Now I want the size to vary a little bit so I’m going to adjust the size jitter. That will make it size in different size brushes as I paint. And I’m also going to adjust the angle jitter. Now I can adjust it to quite a high value here because I don’t mind if these leaves point in completely the opposite direction. In fact that’s going to look pretty good for my leaves. And then I’m going to tap Scattering to enable that and to go to get the Scattering controls. I’ve got Scattering enabled here on both axes and I can just pull it out or push it in to see what I’ve got. I think I want a little bit better control than adjusting count because this is going to give me way too many leaves so I think I’d rather paint more and have less of a count. So I think that’s going to be pretty good.

The last thing I need to do is to enable Color Dynamics. What I want with Color Dynamics is I’d really like this brush to do all the work for me and I want it to paint in color. So I’ve got orange as my background color. Now I’m going to tap here and I’m going to select a color from the image to be the foreground color. So I’m thinking sort of a lighter yellow, maybe I’ll just pick it up from the palette here. So this is my foreground color. This is my background color and I have Apply per Tip enabled and foreground, background jitter at 100 percent. I’ve got hue jitter, saturation jitter and brightness jitter all at zero percent and purity at zero percent as well. What this brush is going to do is it’s going to toggle its colors between these two and so I won’t have to do any of the work myself. I’m going to close this dialog, make sure that I’m painting on a brand new layer, and I’m just going to start to paint. And you can see that the colors are toggling between the foreground and background color. And that just lets me paint my autumn leaves without having to do really much work at all.

Now I can paint as much or as little of these leaves as I want. I’m painting over the edge a little bit here because I’d like some leaves to be eventually underneath this stroke border so I’m just going to add plenty of leaves in there. And I’ll add a couple of stray leaves in the bottom here as well. I can add them by just single tapping or I can paint. When I’m happy with that the last thing I need to do is to get rid of the leaves that are actually over the image here. So I’m going back to my magic wand tool and I’m going back to my stroke layer here and with Contiguous enabled I’m just going to click inside this stroke layer. And what that does is it selects everything inside that layer. And now I can come onto my paint layer and I could do one of two things. I could just press Delete to delete the leaves that are inside this shape but perhaps if I wanted to add some more leaves later on it would be a better idea if I actually added a mask. And that’s very easy to do.

I’m just going to click here the Add Layer Mask icon. Now when I add my layer mask it’s working the wrong way around. You can see what it’s done is it’s clipped and hidden all the leaves around the outside and just left the ones in the middle. We want the exact opposite to be the case so I’ll click on my mask and press Ctrl and I and that just inverts the mask. So you can see now we’ve got the leaves on our image and they’re all around the edge of the image. It’s just that the stroke is underneath the leaves. There’s a very, very easy solution to that. I’m going to select the layer that contains the stroke and just move it up above the leaves and now the stroke is over the leaves. Before we leave this tutorial let’s have a look and see what would happen if we decided that instead of this green edge we would like a pink edge perhaps sampling the pink from this little girl’s headband. Well let’s go first of all and sample the pink. And this is the pink that I’m going to use so I have it selected as the foreground color. I want to make this stroke which is now green into pink.

Now if I press Alt Backspace I’m just going to make the whole layer pink and that’s not what I want to do. I just want to fill the pixels that are already filled on that layer. So I can click here to lock the transparent pixels on this layer, looking for this lock icon to appear. Now if I press Alt Backspace I’m just going to change the color of that stroke. And it’s picked up the foreground color in the image. And now I would just either drag this lock icon into the trash can here or I can just click this icon again. That would unlock it. So there you have an oval framed effect with some autumn leaves that you’ve created using a brush of your own in Photoshop.

I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out for more of my video tutorials on this YouTube channel and visit projectwoman.com for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Illustrator, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom and a whole lot more.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Getting a better Black and White image

Lightroom Getting a Better Black and White Lightroom Tip   Getting a better Black and White image

Learn how to use the color sliders to get a great Black and White image

You can convert any image into black and white by pressing the letter V or select B&W. However, you can also craft your own black and white image to get a better result than you get with the default settings if you drag on the color sliders in the Black & White Mix panel.

Each slider controls one of the underlying colors in the image. Drag to the right to lighten a color in the black and white or to the left to darken it.

Using the sliders, you can get a crafted black and white image that looks the way you want it to look.

Sliders for which there is not corresponding color in the underlying image will have no effect or little effect when you drag on them.

Helen Bradley

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Lightroom Tip – Introduction to Lightroom Smart Collections

Lightroom smart collections opener Lightroom Tip   Introduction to Lightroom Smart Collections

Get Up to Speed with Lightroom Smart Collections

Lightroom has two types of collections: regular Collections and Smart Collections. Smart Collections are live and they are created as a result of filtering your photos according to rules that you write. You cannot add an image to a Smart Collection by dragging and dropping it into the collection. You can’t remove an image from a Smart Collection just because you don’t want it in there – it can only be removed if it fails to meet the criteria you set up for the collection.

Smart collections are a handy way to create collections and to manage your photos and here I’ll show you how to make use of them.

Shipped Smart Collections
There are a few Smart Collections which ship with Lightroom. To find these, click the Collections panel in Lightroom and click on the Smart Collection Set. Click the Smart collection called Without Keywords. As its name suggests, this collection shows you all the images in your Lightroom catalog that do not have keywords associated with them.

If you’re like me you’ll want to close this one pretty quickly – it can be scary to see just how many images aren’t keyworded!

You can learn more about this collection by right clicking its name and choose Edit Smart Collection. You’ll see that the Smart Collection is configured to contain all those images for which the Keywords property is empty.

Lightroom smart collections 1 e1365613473700 Lightroom Tip   Introduction to Lightroom Smart Collections

There are other collections which are shipped with Lightroom including Recently Modified which is a collection of images that have been edited recently.

You can, if desired, change the Recently Modified Smart Collection to span a different number of days. Click this collection , right click and choose Edit Smart Collection. You can see that the collection criteria is set to be Edit Date > Is in the last

When you do so, Lightroom checks the images in your catalog to determine which images meet this criteria and it displays these in this Smart Collection.

Lightroom smart collections 2 e1365613532413 Lightroom Tip   Introduction to Lightroom Smart Collections

Make your own Smart Collections
In addition to those shipped with Lightroom you can create your own Smart Collections. For example, if you color your images red meaning a certain thing you can create a Smart Collection that contains all the images which are colored red.

To do this, click to open the Collections panel, click the plus symbol and choose Create Smart Collection. Type a name for it such as Red Images, click Inside a Collection Set and choose to add it to the Smart Collections set. From the options below select Label color is red.

Click Create to create the collection – it will contain all images in your collection which have the red label color associated with them.

Lightroom smart collections 3 Lightroom Tip   Introduction to Lightroom Smart Collections

Remove an Image from a Smart Collection
The only way you can remove an image from a Smart Collection is to configure it so it no longer meets the criteria for the Smart Collection. For example an image will no longer appear in the Without Keywords collection if you add a keyword to it.

You can remove an image from the Red Images collection if you remove or change its color label. When it no longer has the red color label associated with it, it will no longer appear in the collection.

Similarly, if you apply the red color label to an image in Lightroom it will be automatically added to the Red Images Smart Collection.

One of the benefits of Smart Collections is that they’re continually updated by Lightroom. So Lightroom ensures that all the images which match the criteria you use to define the Smart Collection are in that collection.

How Smart Collections differ from Regular Collections
Smart Collections behave differently to Regular Collections in a few key ways. One difference is that you cannot arrange images in a Smart Collection into your own custom order.

The collection order can only be set to one of the Lightroom default Sort Order options; Capture Time, Edit Order, Edit Time, Edit Count, Rating, Pick, Label Text, Label Color, File Name, File Extension, File Type and Aspect Ratio. Regular collections, on the other hand, can be sorted into User Order which is useful for slideshows and web pages for example.

You also cannot set a Smart Collection as the Target Collection because you cannot add images to a Smart Collection manually. It can only be added if it matches the criteria which describes that collection.

Over to you .. Do you use Smart Collections in Lightroom and, if so, how do you use them? Do you use the shipped collections or make your own?

Helen Bradley

Page 3 of 3512345102030Last »