Sunday, January 31, 2016

To the stars... and beyond! Adding stars with Photoshop

In a previous post we added snow in Photoshop and, with a similar technique, we can also add to a picture in Photoshop.

Yes, it all starts with opening the picture you want to work with. This is the image where we want to add stars in the dark sky to give the image another look and feel. 

First step is to make the star brush. Open a new document (500 by 500 px)

Choose a brush with a hardness of round 60%

Make two dots with a different (small) size

I'm saving this as my brush (edit > define brush preset, and name your brush)

Now we go back to our picture with the dark star-less sky. We're adding a new blank layer and choose the brush (B) we just created. Open the brush (windows > brush) and change it to the settings as underneath:

There you have it: a great brush to create stars. Don't forget to save it. 

Click on New Brush Preset and name it. 

Now we're ready to paint the stars in this image. Use your new brush to create white stars in the sky. 

But as the brush also touched the building and the sea, we need to remove the stars there. To remove them we're adding a mask to the layer and choose a normal soft brush and paint with black on the parts where we don't want to have the stars.

Now we have our stars in the sky but it doesn't really look real just yet. To create a good realistic look and feel, we begin with adding a glow to the stars. Choose the layer of the stars (not the mask) and click on 'fx' and blending options. Now choose Outer glow.
We picked a warm colour with the colour picture. In our case the color of the beach. When you have an image that is colder you should also pick a colder shade to make it look more realistic.

The last thing we're going to do is to give a little blur to the stars. To do this go to Filter > Blur > Motion blur
It's important to choose a small distance. In our case we went with 3 pixels.

And what's left to do is to flatten the image using Cmd E. 

To the stars... and beyond! Now we've created a sky full of stars. 

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook or 500px

And have you already discovered our brand new Facebook page Humans of the Nordic Region?

Picture from

Thursday, January 28, 2016

New feature in Lightroom and Camera Raw! Boundary Warp

Exciting news y'all! In the latest Lightroom and Camera Raw update there's this new feature called Boundary Warp. 

What is it and how to use it. Read on and you'll find out all about it. 
So often when you do panoramashots, there's white spaces around the edges of the pictures. Before you had to either crop your image or fill these areas in Photoshop. Enter: Boundary Warp! When creating a panorama with shooting lots of images and stitching them together in Photoshop (Photo > Photomerge > Panorama), you'll now have the opportunity to use the Boundary Warp tool.

Boundary Warp is the magical tool that'll try to fix the whitespaces in your panorama, add the edges of the picture and automatically stretch the warped edges to yield a perfectly smooth border. Just drag the slider to the right to see the effect and see what amount fits best for your panorama. Give it a go and experiment with it. We totally think this is a great addition to Lightroom! 

This clip might also be helpful for you. 

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook or 500px

And have you already discovered our brand new Facebook page Humans of the Nordic Region?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Healing brush vs spot healing brush

This is just a short post. It's a post about the difference between the Spot healing brush and the Healing brush tool in Photoshop.

Both can be found using the keyboard shortcut J. By holding the Shift key you can toggle through the J tool options.

Spot Healing brush tool:
This option works really well for removing spots etc. in for example the sky. Just paint over the spot you want to remove and Photoshop does the rest. It's content aware, so Photoshop does its best to make it look perfect. 

An example:
Let's remove one bird from this image. Select the spot healing brush tool and remove the left and right bird. Best thing to do first is to duplicate the background layer, so that you do your editing on a separate layer.

The spot healing brush tool also works with straight lines. Select a size of the spot healing brush that's a little bigger than the lines. By holding the Shift key and painting over the line you repair what needs to be fixed.

Let's remove telephone line by using the Shift key. Most of the times, content aware does a pretty good job. But sometimes you've got to repeat the action more than once to get the result you're after. 

Healing brush tool:
The Healing brush tool works a little different. It works well for example with skin retouching.
If you're working with this tool, you have to first take a sample of the skin using the Alt key. This is the sample (reference) you use for the skin you want to correct. 

Let me show you with this picture:
I'm going to remove the pimple on her forehead. I selected a part of the skin just under it by using the Alt key. Then I painted over the Pimple and Photoshop does the rest. Ofcourse I worked on a copy of the background layer.
With this technique I can also remove the dark lines under her eyes.  You don't want to completely remove them, because that would look really unnatural. I just wanted to make them a bit softer. 
Make a copy of the layer and select an area under that dark line. Then paint over the dark line(s). You can do it step by step by selecting the correct color tone. Mind you, with an Opacity of 100% it looks really unnatural. 

By reducing the Opacity of the layer, it looks more natural.

Both great tools if you know where to find them and how to use them. 

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook or 500px

And have you already discovered our brand new Facebook page Humans of the Nordic Region?

pictures from

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Show them it's yours!

When exporting a picture from Lightroom, it's real easy to add a watermark to your image. Sit back and read this blog to find out how to create your very own watermark. 

As always, it starts with opening Lightroom and choosing an image to work with. Click Cmd Shift E to export the image. This screen appears: 

Check the checkbox and click on the blue arrows: 

Then: click on Edit Watermarks: 

Now you'll get this new screen with lots of possibilities:

Like choosing your letter type and size. With the watermark effects you get to choose the location on the image where the watermark should appear.

When you're satisfied with your newly created watermark you'll want to save it. Before actually saving it, choose ´Save Current Settings as New Preset and give your watermark a name. Then click on Create and Done. 

The new watermark now appears in the dropdown list as an option for watermarks in your images.. 

By clicking on the blue arrows behind the watermark you can choose edit. Now you can edit, rename or even delete it.

So there you have it. Seems easy enough right, to create your very own watermark. I have to admit that we're using more and more metadata in our images instead of a watermark. But that's a subject for yet another post. 

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook or 500px

And have you already discovered our brand new Facebook page Humans of the Nordic Region?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Bringing back the old glory...

I recently discovered a new hobby. A new nook in the vast landscape of photography: restoring old black and white pictures and while I'm at it: creating a whole new look and feel.

I got inspired by watching this video of Serge Ramelli. He mentioned this great website with old black and white images. After this video I had a go myself and I loved it! It's a great way to practise your skills in Lightroom and Photoshop. 

So I started with this black and white image.

With some adjustments in Photshop and Lightroom it came out like this.

Quite a difference right? Let's do another one:

I started with removing the frame of the picture (using the crop tool). Then I opened the Camera Raw Filter (Filter > Camera Raw Filter). This basically has the same functionality as Lightroom. 

In the menu I started with removing all the color to make it a truly black and white image. Then I changed Contrast and the Highlights and shadows. After that I worked with the Black and Whites. Basically I just followed my usual workflow in LIghtroom. For this particular image I boosted the clarity. 
As I wasn't completely satisfied with the result just yet, I added some radial filters and closed the picture with a graduated filter on the top and the bottom. Voila, this is the end result. From this: 
To this:

Too much fun to end it hear: let's do another one. 
Yep, after opening in Photoshop, I started with the Camera Raw Filters. Then I cleaned the sky with the Dust and scratches filter (Filter > Dust & Scratches) and the Spot healing brush tool. And than a little vignette just because I like vignettes every once in a while. I thought it kinda suited this image. 
And here's the result: 

Just a couple more examples of pics I worked with in Lightroom/Photoshop: 

So have a go. Don't be afraid to experiment. 

And: don't forget to follow us on Facebook or 500px. Have you already discovered our brand new Facebook page Humans of the Nordic Region!