Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fix It Friday #71

Back again with another Fix-It-Friday from iheartfaces.

Today's subject: a guy and his truck.

First, the original:

And here's the "There, I fixed it" version:

To fake the depth of field, I used two masks to blend two blurred layers into the original image. All three layers got a yellow-orange color overlay adjustment layer set to "color burn" which added contrast while pulling out the reds to warm the image some. For a top layer, I added a photo filter adjustment layer to warm things up even more.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fix-It-Friday (Honestly! It was still Friday when I fixed it!)

I found out about Fix-It-Friday on I Heart Faces tonight while reading a friend's FaceBook post and decided to go check it out. All in all, it's pretty simple. They provide a picture, you "fix" it, post it in your blog then link back to their site. It sounded fun and I'm always looking for a way to stay in touch with Photoshop.

Not wanting to taint any creative juices, I opted to not view anyone else's submissions until mine was complete. The few I've had a chance to look through since all seemed to trend toward the vintage, desaturated look and honestly, that was the direction I headed at first too. Apparently this photo says "make me vintage-esque." In the end however, I went the other direction and pushed the saturation, added some glow and warmed the whole thing up a touch.

Original image:

My "fixed" version:

I opted to just stick with the tools native to CS3 since they suggested including a tutorial. Photoshop has so much available right within the program, I think that a lot of people overlook what is possible without the use of third party plugins. This was just a couple copies of the original image and a couple quick blending mode and transparency changes with a free brush texture over top of it to created the vignette. In total, there are three image layers and three adjustment layers.

On the bottom of the layer stack is the untouched original image. (It's always best to keep the original and screw up... I mean "work on" copies.)

Above that is a copy of the image that I added a gaussian blur to, with a radius of 3.9 pixels (different values will be needed for different pictures). This will be the base of our glow effect. The blending mode was changed to "Overlay" and the transparency set at 70% (again, different picture, different settings. the technique is the same though).

Above the copy layer is where the glow magic really happens. I added a "Levels" layer style and linked it so that it affects only the blurred layer. On the adjustment layer, I tweaked only the right-most slider, pulling it down to 207 to bring in a bit of a glow to the highlights of the image. (To link the layers, I used a trick that I didn't learn until years into my Photoshopping forays. Make sure that the adjustment layer is directly above the layer that you want to be effected by it, then hold down ALT and click on the line in between those two layers in the layer window. Voila! The upper adjustment layer now ignores all the other layers in your project and only changes what's on the layer that it's linked to.)

Another "Levels" adjustment layer went on top of that, left unlinked so as to affect the entire image. The left-most slider (the black point) was brought up to 61, the mid-point was brought up to 0.48 and the right-most slider (the white point) was brought down to 250. This really richened the green of the grass and pushed the whites to be a bit brighter.

At this point, the image felt a little too cold. I added a "Photo Filter" adjustment layer (again, unlinked) with the Warming Filter 85 setting at a density of 82%. No more frostbite!

Finally, I added a vignette with a simple click of a paint brush. I a brush from the collection "Old Paper Brushes III" by lailomeiel over at I resized the brush to encompass the entire page, flipped it on the "Y" axis and clicked once. I set the opacity to 58% and called the whole thing done.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with my first Fix-It-Friday, even though the actual submission isn't happening until about 4am on Saturday. Maybe next week I'll have a chance to start sooner and make it all happen on Friday like it's supposed to!

Whoa, where have I been?

I just realized that it's been 14 months since I last posted. I've had little to say during that time, and less to write. I'm still unemployed and my unemployment has run out. Beth has joined me in the ranks, having been laid off two weeks ago now.

As bad as that is, we're looking for the silver lining on the grey cloud that's hanging over us. We've been talking off and on about moving out of the area, out of the state. We're now at the point that we have no obligations holding us here. Now's the time to do it, and why not? California's currently hanging at the bottom of the barrel as far as the unemployment rate is concerned and frankly, it's freaking expensive to live here in the Bay Area. If you ask me, that's just some bad math, no matter how you look at it.

Our solution? Let's look north. Way north. Portland, Oregon north. Maybe even farther, who knows? If all goes according to plan, I'll be heading to Oregon to look for employment and possibly a place to live.

Why Oregon? Ready for a random list?
It's not too far away so that Nick will still get to see his grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins on occasion.
Christmas visits with the families will still be very doable.
The cost of living is better than here.
We might actually be able to afford to buy a house some day.
Oregon has some really beautiful country.
Honestly, I'm a little tired of the Bay Area. I've been here all but a year of my life and I'd like to experience something new and different.

My biggest concern is how much Nick is going to miss going over to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Right now, he can (and does) invite himself over to spend the night at least once ever other week. We've started talking about moving, finding a new apartment, him getting a new room, meeting new friends... I've yet to bring up the fact that he'll have to leave things behind; the kids downstairs, weekly trips to Grandma's pool... That's going to be hard and frankly, I'm not looking forward to it.

Keep us in your prayers as we look for new jobs and a new place to live in a new part of the country.

We'll call it an adventure. That sounds more fun than "hauling all our junk a long ways away and trying to sort it out on the other side in hopes that something better is there waiting for us." :)