Photo: Desert Dunes

Eyeline Layer in Photoshop

Photo: Blue Orchid

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Photo: Desert Dunes

Desert Dunes
Copyright Laura A Knauth, All rights reserved.
Please contact me for any usage or licensing options.
Desert patterns of the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes just before sunset.

Death Valley National Park, California

Technical Info
Canon 50d
Tokina 11-16mm Lens, 16mm
f/13, 1/125s, ISO 100

Playing around with the "Diffuse Glow" filter in Photoshop (Filter => Distort => Diffuse Glow) really gave me the stark, desaturated look I had been hoping for when I took the original image. In real life, the sun reflected off of the sand ripples and across the background mountains really giving a harsh desert feel to the environment. The camera captures whatever it can, and then it's a huge process to infuse the image with original feeling of being there on the day. The Diffuse Glow filter option seems to work well when there is sufficient contrast in the image, so I did some work on the Midtone contrast first before using this filter to achieve the results you see here.

For reference, this was the original image out of Bridge (I tweaked a few knobs here from the original image, but do most of my work in Photoshop):
Copyright Laura A Knauth, All rights reserved
Original Image for "Desert Dunes"
Hope these ideas help you too!

Blog Post by Laura A Knauth

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eyeline Layer in Photoshop

I wanted to expand on one of the steps in the workflow snapshot of my "Life On The Farm" photo. I've been adding what I call an 'eyeline' layer to all of my recent photo processing and plan to keep using in the future. The layer is designed to add extra support to where I intend the eye to travel over the composition. It's intended to adjust the grouping of objects across the canvas (as opposed to local adjustments to separate nearby objects like blades of grass).

Before Eyeline Layer:

Copyright Laura A Knauth, All rights reserved.
No Eyeline Layer
After Eyeline Layer:

Copyright Laura A Knauth, All rights reserved.
Finished Image with Eyeline Layer
It's a subtle effect, but I find the final image has a more 'set' or 'complete' sense about it. The effect is definitely noticeable when toggling the two layers back to back.

To construct the 'eyeline' layer:
* Add a "Levels Adjustment Layer" in Photoshop (that's the half light, half dark circle icon at the bottom of the layers window; and select "Levels").

* I don't actually touch the levels curve, I've done this entirely so I can subsequently paint on the mask (default is a white rectangle) attached to the layer.

* Change the Layer Mode from "Normal" to "Multiply"
   This will apply "Multiply" to the entire image which will darken everything initially (notice the increased color saturation as well).

* Now for emphasizing the eyeline: Grab the Paintbrush, set the paint color to black, and start painting the path you intend for the eye to follow through your composition.

Using the full 100% opacity, this effect will appear rather extreme, but I start here to block in the main concept. From this point, I add secondary darker or lighter areas as supporting 'eyelines', and I back off the layer opacity as needed (for this example, I set the opacity of the Eyeline layer back to 45%).

For reference, here's the Eyeline Layer Mask I used for this image:
Eyeline Layer Mask for "Life On The Farm"

I've been really enjoying the effect of emphasizing specific areas of the composition using this method, and hope you find this technique useful too!

Blog Post by Laura A Knauth

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Photo: Blue Orchid

Abstract image of a mysterious blue orchid glistening in the sunlight.

Blue Orchid
Copyright Laura A Knauth, All rights reserved.
Please contact me for any usage or licensing options.
This is a blue orchid dendrobium I purchased at my local supermarket. I have seen whole plants of these available in the past year or so (both at the hardware store and grocery store) under the name: Blue Mystique

Someone did some strange science to the orchids to make them grow this way. Ordinarily, I'm all about appreciating the amazingness that is pure nature, but the colors here were just so striking, I had to take a picture!

I don't have the technical details for this image because it was taken on slide film back in the day. (The automatic feature of digital cameras to record the metadata with the image is so nice!)

50mm Macro Lens
Minolta 600si Camera
Slide Film

Blog Post by Laura A Knauth