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Awesome Mushroom Photograph by :iconilykchoclitmilk: and she does some other amazing stuff as well! Check it out &

Edited and Re-Uploaded to dA with Artist Permission; Tutorial Below for PhotoShop-CS4 (Sorry, it is a walkthrough because I didn't know the artist's PS experience level) Original Next To Edit and Final Layers

And remember I had to work on the little low-quality image you have on dA; but you can change your original and it will look amazing!

Here's how you do it! (Don't worry, I know it looks like alot to read, but once you do it you will see that it is really very simple!
Open the pic in PShop and then hit CTRL+J to duplicate the layer

Now click the little eye next to the top layer to hide it(we will call it layer 1 on top, eventually 5 on the bottom)"Layer 1 is our untouched original for comparison at the end!"

Blown Out Recovery Layer~~>Click the visible(background) layer, we need to recover the stuff blown out by the flash before we can work with the image; Go to "Image" / "Adjustments" / "Shadows/Highlights" and then slide "Shadows" all the way to the left, and "Hightlights" all the way to the right; now check the box that says "Show More Options" and then in the 3rd section is "Adjustments" and use the settings "0/+30/10/0" (or play with the sliders until you like what you see)...then "Ok"...Now that's something we can work with!:iconcoolshadesplz:

Duplicate the current layer (CTRL+J) TWICE so you now have 4 layers. Remember 1=top, 4=bottom(background)

Detail Layer~~>Click layer 2 and go to the "Filter" menu at the top of the screen; choose "Other"/"High Pass" (you may have to hit "show all menu items"), type in "5" and press "Ok" (I used a setting of "3" on the smaller image) last step on this layer, on the right at the top of the "Layers" panel there is the "Blending Mode" that says "Normal"; change to "Overlay"; then to the right is the opacity saying "100%" so make it "50%" (If things look too detailed they look fake):iconboobzplz:

Brightening/Darkening Layer~~>Now still on layer 2, click the "New Layer" button(looks like a little folded piece of paper) and it will create the NEW "layer-2" and switch you to it(that's good). In your tools (probably on the left) there is a "Paint Bucket" tool that if you click and hold on it, you can change it to a "Gradient" tool. Make sure of your two colors, black on top(foreground) and white on bottom(background) and then fill the new layer with a standard black to white gradient by clicking at the bottom of the mushroom and dragging up to the top of your friend's head and letting go...Once that is done, last step on this layer, on the right at the top of the "Layers" panel there is the "Blending Mode" that says "Normal"; change to "Overlay"; then to the right is the opacity saying "100%" so make it "50%" (just play with it to see what you like), Notice we just brightened the top of the image while ALSO darkening the bottom!:wow:

Final Touches Layer!:woohoo:~~>We want the trees/house/your friend to all be a little more detailed, but the grass is detailed enough! So...Click layer 4 and go to your menus to "Filter" / "Sharpen" / "Unsharp Mask" and I liked the settings "175/2/0" (but I highly recommend playing with these sliders a bunch to learn how they work:iconthinkingplz:) and then here is the tricky part after hitting "Ok"; grab your eraser tool and then make the tool kinda big so you cover more ground (use square bracket keys [ and ] to change the size of your brush, and then use fancy brackets { and } to change the hardness of the edge, and you want a soft edge for blending - remember left brackets = softer/smaller, right brackets = harder/larger)and now erase from the bottom of the grass up until you like what you see.

Ok! Pretty much that should do it! Now to compare to the original image, just simply click on and off the little eye on Layer 1! Not bad eh? ;) Enjoy! Your new photo-editing abilities will blow your friends and family away!!! :highfive:

Follow-Up Finishing Touches Tutorial can be found here
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Part 1: Blemishes and Shine
Part 2: Found here: [link]
(includes red-eye, uneven skin color, and whitening teeth!)

Getting rid of blemishes and shine in photos! This is really easy. It's designed for GIMP users but these techniques can easily be used in Photoshop.

I started these because of how much my friends love it when I retouch photos before putting them up on facebook, haha!

A cheap camera with a cheap flash in bad lighting can really do strange things to someone's face...I'm here to fix that!

(No, you don't need to credit me if you use this technique unless you really just love me)
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This tutorial shows you how to use ISO, Aperture, Flash and Tripods to defeat low light and night-time blur in your photos. It's written so that even someone new to photography can understand the techniques I use. This tutorial is also available at my website: [link]

My last tutorial was heavily downloaded despite being badly designed and containing very little information. So when somebody asked me to explain a technique used in one of my photos, I jumped at the chance to make another, more interesting version.

Some examples of using blur creatively from my gallery:

Vertical Movement: [link]
Zoom Burst: [link]
Twisting Camera: [link]
Light Trails: [link]
Long Exposure Sea: [link]
Long Exposure Grasses: [link]

Please favourite if you like this, so other people can find it!
Thanks :)
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The tutorial describes how to get the best contrats/tone out of an image without losing detail in other parts of the image using layers and curves in PS.
This same technique can be applied to color pictures to bring out specific colors or increase saturation in parts of the image.

This is my first attempt at a tutorial please tell me what you think.
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OK, It's time to move on to the next level.

Shading, or modelling: what is inside the drawing.
A mark on the sheet is already an expression of two dimensions. The artist's task is to increase these to three or more. Shading and it's intensity is a key to this transformation. - - - Michael J. Gelb.

At the top of the image I'm showing my set of pencils. Choosing the right ones is the first thing an artist should do.
I use a set of 12 pencils called "Grand" + one 8B pencil, which is pure graphite without wooden base.
Since the set is my brother's, I think I'm gonna buy one for myself. Grand is really good, but I think I'll search for Faber-Castell pencils, because as far as I remember, I had those in my childhood and they were always considered of high quality.

:bulletblack: A little more on pencils. Basicly, a good pencil should be easily and neatly sharpened. The base should be smooth, not cracking and resulting in an even stroke without scratching. You already should know, or if not - I'm telling you now: B group pencils are softer, used for thicker and richer lines, darker shades. H group pencils are solid, much harder, used for thiner, precise lines, and shading would be quite hard to do with them. HB is a basic, medium soft pencil, found at everyone's home. :) Mostly used for simple drawing and sketching. Numbers show the scale of softness/hardness. The bigger the number, the softer/harder pencil is.

:bulletblack: And having so much different pencils, there is one even more important thing - a good eraser. Here's a few things you should know:
:bulletred:Pencil erasers on the back are the most commonly used, and actually your worst enemies. :police: The erasers on the back of pencils will often smudge the pencil instead of erasing it and make it impossible to be fully erased even by a good eraser.
:bulletred: A lot of pencils have colorful erasers on the end of them (red, green, pink, etc...). Unless you found a very good brand, those will leave a leftover residue from erasing... often the colorful kind... and that can't be removed by anything else, because already stained the paper.
:bulletred: There are a few types of erasers, but I'm not going to write about every of them. I'm using one of "Maped" brand erasers, and I can recommend them. Thay have many to chose from, but I use one, likely the Art Gum type, that is shaving more (which means replacing it more often too), but it erases most of my stuff, even darker lines. Smudges a bit only on a big and dark spots. It's soft , elastic and do not dry, meaning that do not crumble - I have one that was wery useful for precise erasing, but it withered in a month and started crumbling. I'm so highly disappointed of that brand...

:bulletblue: In the middle of the image you can see the scale of shadow intensity I made. I used only 8B to show how one pencil can express different shades. Different pencils will do different shade intensity and give different textures.
:bulletblue: So, do a scale for yourself. Basicly it should have 4 to 5 ranks.
:bulletblue: Now draw a few spheres. Mark your source of light with a little sun.
:bulletblue: Notice a few very slight lines connecting the sun and the spheres. Those are marking the spots where light do not reach the surface. I recommend drawing those while you're still new at this.
:bulletblue: Start shading the spheres, using your own earlier made scale of intensity.
:bulletblue: Congratulations! You've just stepped into a third dimension.

[link] <<<<<< Exercise 3 ______ Exercise 5 >>>>>> [link]

Tips on drawing >>>>>> [link]
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1, 2, 3 steps to brighter, better photos.
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Here's a tutorial of me explaining something about composition in photography.

This is how I would mainly do my composition, but someone else might disagree, and I have no problem with that, these are just my own artistic opinions :)
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more of a medium / basic tutorial tried to make it easy as possible!
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Well, I've been trying to get a similar technique to this for a while now, and now I've found it, I thought I'd let everyone share it too.

The full version can be found here: [link]

If you attempt this, please +fav it and lemme see the outcome.

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This is a tutorial for taking photos of smoke and how to process them.

To see the images associated with the description
visit my blog: [link]

The setup:

For the sake of this tutorial I am going to assume that you have a DSLR. For best results you will need an off camera flash, a reflector, a black background and a tripod. Set your camera up on the tripod. I use incense to create my smoke. Use one stick for thin fine smoke. If you want your smoke to be heavier or swirly use two sticks of incense at the same time. If you want to make very dense smoke then you need to get a bit creative. What I did for the example that I am going to use is cut the bottom off of a pop bottle and remove the lid. Then I took a metal coat hanger and bent it into a circle to make a base and then have it go up and attach it to the pop bottle using tape. The idea here is to elevate the pop bottle over the two sticks of incense. This will result in smoke building up inside the bottle then coming out the top. It works like a chimney. You can cover the top of the bottle with your hand for awhile to allow the smoke to build up. I usually set this up on top of a few boxes. I then position the boxes between the camera and the black background. Keep in mind that you want the distance between the incense and the background to be double the distance between the incense and the camera. Now position your flash on one side of the incense and the reflector on the other. Two key points with the flash. Ensure it's not hitting your background and it's not hitting your camera. Make sure your camera's view only has smoke and background in it. Auto focus on the bottle then switch to manual focus.

Camera settings:

I use a Nikon d300 with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. I find I get the best results shooting at f/8. Set your camera to aperture priority at f/8. I use auto white balance. Set your camera to save the images in raw format. From here you kinda have to play around depending on the power of your flash and then lens that you are using. Your flash power needs to be enough to light up the smoke but not too bright as to over expose it. Most dslr's have a histogram an you can use it to determine if your shot's are over exposed. This step is mostly trial and error. Be patient and try different things. You may have to move your flash closer or farther away. You might have to move your camera as well.


After you transfer your raw files to your computer you can open in photoshop. I use open as smart object. This is what my raw image looked like. From here I begin editing the camera raw settings. Now this will vary from image to image but here are the settings I used for this particular photo.

One thing about these settings that I don't normally adjust is the white balance. However, you can and if you do you will notice how the color of the image changes. If you switch it to flash the smoke with be more white. I like to leave it because I like the blue hue that the flash creates if it's just left as shot. If you want to add color to the photo later you can switch to flash here or use the method I will explain later. Keep a close eye on the histogram while making adjustments here. You don't want high levels on the right. This results in too much white and overexposure. White is bad with smoke especially if you want to add color because the white will stay white and not take on any color. I know that sounds strange but even though we think of all smoke as white it really isn't. It is some degree of grey. I brought up the exposure because my flash was set low. I then added fill light to ensure that all the smoke was visible. I increase the blacks in order to fill out the background. I find it makes it cleaner and crisper. I bump up the contrast but you really need to be careful here because too much contrast will cause over exposure. I then add clarity to make the smoke look more crisp.

To the left is my histogram from camera raw. You will notice there are no high levels on the right. The high levels on the left indicate the black from the background. Now click on ok and we are ready to proceed to the next steps.

Once the file is opened in photoshop as a smart object the next step is duplicate layer. After you duplicate the layer change the blending mode for the new layer to multiply. This will make the image much darker but we will fix that.

Now select Image/Adjustments/Shadows/Highlights. Under the shadows increase the amount to 100% and the tonal width to 60%. Leave everything else as is and click ok. You will notice the image is a bit lighter but still probably not enough.

Now click on Layer/New Adjustment Layer/Curves. This will bring up a curve tab. You can adjust how bright or dark your image is here. By bending the curve up and to the left it will get lighter or down and to the right it will get darker. Again this will vary depending on your results but here is the curve I used.

Your next step is to add contrast. Contrast really makes or breaks your smoke images. I find that there is a fine line between too much and not enough and figuring out what works best takes a great deal of experimenting. Click on Layer/New Adjustment Layer/Levels. This brings up the levels tab. There are various ways of making adjustments here but the ones I prefer are the 3 tabs underneath the histogram. The left one is black, the middle is grey and the right one is white. As you can see for this image I adjusted the black slider slightly to the right. Keep in mind that when you move one slider it is probably going to move the others as well. I also moved the grey slider slightly to the right and the white slider I moved a bit to the left. As you move these sliders you will see immediately how it changes your image. Again each image is going to be different and it takes experimentation to get it just right.When you are done click Layer/Flatten Image.

That about covers the main process that I use for smoke and here is my results. It's a significant difference from the original raw file and no color was added. The blue that is in the smoke is from the flash. If you leave the white balance settings on your camera at auto and you don't change the white balance in camera raw you will get blue smoke every time. Now what do you do if you don't want your smoke to be blue? Well what I do instead of changing the white balance is a create a new layer. Click Layer/New Adjustment Layer/Black & White. The black and white adjustment window will pop up and I usually just click on auto. This will convert your smoke to a nice grey scale. From here you can click on Layer/New. Change the blending mode of this new layer to overlay. Now either paint color or use the gradient tool or whatever method you like to add color.

Want to put your new smoke onto another image. Easy. Use the selection tool to select the part you want to use. Edit/Copy. Then paste it onto another image. It will show up as a layer. Change the blending mode to screen and that will make all the black go away and you are off and running.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I hope it helps you with creating beautiful smoke images. I would love to hear your comments and I would especially like to see the images you created using this tutorial. So feel free to leave comments and links to your images.
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