Nature Notes

March 31, 2015

Photoshop Tutorial- Find Edges filter

Filed under: Flowers,Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips — Tags: , , , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Put mouse over image

Put mouse over image

The Find Edges is one of my favorite Photoshop filters for playing with an image.Here’s what you can do with it.

I added a layer to the shot of the center of a Trillium and applied Filter >> Stylize .. Find Edges. It result in the image below:

Find Edges Layer

I then reduced the opacity of this layer to something I liked the look of (in this case 20%) and flattened the layers. The result was this:

Lowered Opacity to 20%

At this point I just had some fun with it. Raised the light levels, stomped on the contrast and juiced up the saturation. When I was happy with it, I had this:

Final Image

Following are a couple more examples:

Venice Scene Orkney Stone House

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series

 

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January 16, 2013

Texas Birding: Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Filed under: Birds,Texas — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

The Aransas Wildlife Refuge  is best known as the winter home of the Whooping Crane. Once at the edge of extinction, in 1941 only 15 wild birds wintered in the area, it has slowly increased its population. It is still in a precarious state however. During the winter season, Whooping Crane tours regularly go from nearby Rockport into Aransas Bay, but you may occasionally see them from the refuge.

The area is well represented by Herons as well, with all of the regular Texas species to be found, as well as Rails, Roseate Spoonbill, and Ibis. In winter Ducks and shorebirds are in abundance.

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

These birds are usually found by the bay along the road and Heron Flats Trail.

During migration, there are an abundance of species who stop off in the area. On the day I visited, the roads in the area held hundreds of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers moving through, a great spectacle.

Warblers and other small passerines were in good supply. Northern Harriers were commonly found quartering the open fields, and a White-tailed Hawk made an appearance.


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December 15, 2012

Birding Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Filed under: Argentina,Birds — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Green-headed Tanager

Green-headed Tanager

Over 400 species of birds have been found in the area. The area is most famous for the Great Dusky Swift, hundreds of which can be seen flying through the mist of the falls, and which nest on the rocks behind the falls.

The Toucan family has a few representatives to be found here and the large Toco Toucan is commonly seen as well as the Chestnut-eared Aracari, Saffron Toucanet, and Red-breasted Toucan. Woodpeckers seen were the Ochre-collared Piculet, Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, White-spotted Woodpecker, Blond-crested Woodpecker and Campo Flicker. The Flicker was often seen on grassy area at the entrance along with Southern Lapwing, Saffron Finch, and Plush-crested Jay.

There are Hummingbird feeders at a house in a town nearby where we saw Scale-throated and Planalto  Hermit, Black Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Violet-capped Woodnymph, and Versicolored Emerald.

Walking the trails above the falls yielded some excellent birds including a pair of nest building Surucua Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, and White-bearded Manakin. Tanagers were well represented including Magpie Tanager, Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Hepatic, Sayaca, Fawn-breasted, Black-goggled, and Green-headed Tanager. Scaly-headed Parrot and Squirrel Cuckoo put in an appearance.

Near the falls, a Double-collared Seadeater was seen, but the most interesting sighting was a duck that flew by. Due to the lighting, only a silhouette could be seen, but it gave every appearance of a Merganser. However, the only Merganser on Argentina’s species list is the extremely rare Brazilian Merganser. Historically they are known from the area, so it would not be totally out of the question. Tantalizing but inconclusive.

As expected a good number of the Tyrant Flycatcher are in the area, including Planalto Tyrannulet,Russet-winged Spadebill, Cattle Tyrant, Sirystes, Great Kiskadee, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Three-striped Flycatcher, Variegated Flycatcher, and Black-crowned Tityra. Thrush-like and Olivaceous Woodcreeper were seen. Swallow species included White-winged, White-rumped, Black-collared, and Tawny-headed


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December 6, 2012

Photoshop Tutorial- Creating a Background Blur

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

The following photoshop procedure will allow you to create a realistic motion blur on any portion of the image.

The Before Image

1.Use your favorite selection tools and select that portion of the image which will not have motion blur. In our example, we carefully select the hawk.
2. Deselect {SELECT > DESELECT or CNTR-D}
3. Duplicate layer { LAYER > DUPLICATE LAYER > OK}
4. Clone away a portion of the subject all around its edges. You don’t need to be too neat as the rest of the process will obscure it. This is necessary to ensure that portions of the subject don’t bleed into the background when the motion blur is applied.

Image with Cloned edges

5. Apply a motion blur {FILTER > BLUR > MOTION BLUR} I used a setting of 0′ angle and 34 pixels in length for this 600 pixel width example.

Image with Motion Blur applied

6. Reselect {SELECT > RESELECT}

7. Clear the selection and allow the subject from the background to show through {EDIT > CLEAR}

8. Deselct and flatten the image {SELECT > DESELECT} { LAYER > FLATTEN IMAGE}

9. Touch up the transition area between the subject and the blurred background with a pass of the blur tool to reduce the sharpness of the transition. I use about a 5 pixel diameter tool.

Final Image

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series


 

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February 25, 2011

Photoshop Tutorial – Secrets of the Crop Tool

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am

It seems simple enough. Drag the copy tool across your image, adjust the sides to your wishes and hit enter. You’ve cropped your image. But there is more. Here are a few uses you may not know about.

Keeping the same proportions

Keeping the same proportions

1. Keeping the same proportions

For many end uses, I find it useful to keep the same proportions as the original, usually 2×3 or 3×2. This is a simple task with the crop tool. Just hold down the Shift key as you drag the tool across the image and you’ll find that the crop has been restrained to the original proportions.

Do a perspective crop

Do a perspective crop

2. Do a perspective crop

You can change the perspective while you are cropping. After dragging your crop tool to create a marquee, you can click on the Perspective checkbox on the tool’s menu at the top. This allows you to shift any of the corners of the marquee, increasing or decreasing the perspective from that side.

Crop and Rotate

Crop and Rotate

3. Crop and rotate

After dragging your crop tool to make a marquee in your image, you can rotate your crop before finalizing it. Just hold your mouse outside any corner and click and hold when the double arrow shaped courser appears. You can then drag your marquee in the direction you wish to rotate. Double click inside the marquee or hit enter to finish.

Hide your crop, don't delete

Hide your crop, don't delete

4. Hide your crop, don’t delete

I can find little real world use for the next secret of the cropping tool, but its kind of cute. It needs to be done on an image layer rather than the background, so double-click on the background layer in your layers menu to convert it. After setting your marquee, click the Hide checkbox and complete your crop by hitting the Enter key. If you change to the move tool (The up arrow at the top), you will find you can move the image around and the portion that was outside your crop will appear, as it was not deleted. I suppose this might be useful if you wanted to look at various crops of a certain size.

Crop to match dimensions of another image

Crop to match dimensions of another image

5. Crop to match dimensions of another image

Select the crop tool and make the image whose dimensions you want to match the active one. At the tool menu bar at the top, click on “Front Image”. Applying the crop tool to a second image will automatically provide a crop if the same dimensions as the first image.

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series

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December 31, 2009

Photoshop Tutorial – Motion Blur

Filed under: HDR,Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips,Toronto — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am

SpideyTrain

The Motion Blur Filter in Photoshop can provide the impact of movement to an object in your image. We are going to use the image above of a stationary train in Toronto’s Union Station which has some interesting Spiderman advertising on the side. This image was processed in HDR in order to get the range of shadow to highlights.

There are two ways we can give a look of motion to the above  image… with the train in motion and the background stationary, or the reverse.

Lets try the background blurred and give a look as if we were panning with the movement of the train. First we add a duplicate copy to work in (Layer>>>Duplicate Layer). Next step is to select the train only. There are numerous ways of doing this but I use Quick Mask (Click the icon at the bottom of your tools menu panel). A double click on the Quick Mask Icon brings up a small menu which allows you to choose whether your actions will select or mask areas. I choose select, and then work with the Mask tool to draw over the surface of the train. As I work I will see the area I have chosen turn pink. If you choose an area you don’t want included, just change the foreground color from balck to white on the icon above your Quick Mask icon and the brush can be used to remove previously chosen parts.

When you are happy with the chosen area, click the Quick Mask icon to get out of that mode.

Now we use the motion blur filter (Filter>>>Blur>>>Motion Blur). Make sure your angle matches the direction of motion you want and then adjust the distance to to what looks good to you. Click enter, deselect (Select…Deselect) and you can see the resulting image. Hopefully your image will now look as if you panned your camera with the motion of a moving object and have a blurred background.

SpideyTrainMotionBlurA

Motion blur the background

To give a look as if the camera stayed stationary and recorded a blurred moving object, just follow the same procedure above until just before the Motion Blur Filter. Invert your selection (Select >>> Inverse) and then proceed with the Motion Blur as before. The result should be a stationary background and a blurred object.

Motion blur the object

Motion blur the object

Note this could also be done in an adjustment layer if you thought you might want to make future changes. When there is only a little processing involved like this example, I tend to plan on re-doing the processing should I wish to change it.

I used Photoshop CS4 for this but it should work in many earlier versions.

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series


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December 16, 2009

My new Christmas header

Filed under: Graphic,Photoshop Tutorial,Processing Tips — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Christmas Header

Christmas Header

One of the best ways to learn about some of Photoshop’s more advanced features is to follow through some of the excellent tutorials to be found online. The Christmas header above was constructed by adapting an excellent Tutorial at Adobe Tutorials. Some of the interesting things in this tutorial are blending options for layer, use of the pen tool, and custom shapes.


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November 17, 2009

Photoshop Tutorial – Polar coordinates

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am

AbstractUkranianChurch

A few days ago I posted a HDR image of a Ukrainian Church. I had some fun in photoshop to produce the above. If you would like to try it, you need to have an image which is relatively plain on the top and the bottom, and the middle portion is at about the same level on each side, because they will eventually be joined.

Here is the procedure

Go to Image>Image Size and make your image square ( you need to have Constrain Proportions Unchecked)

Flip the image over Image>Image Rotation>Flip Canvas Vertical

Filter>Distort>Polar coordinates (Check rectangular to polar)

Now you need to do some cleanup to get everything to match.

That’s it. Have fun.

AbstractHenryMoore

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series


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