April 4, 2016

Changing eye colors in Photoshop

Every now and then I’ll take a photo of a person, usually a woman, and when I open it up later, I wonder what they’d look like with if their eyes were green instead of blue or brown instead of green etc etc.  

In this photo, my barmaid friend had sort of grayish pupils and I wanted to see how she’d look with green eyes or maybe blue ones. Sometimes their eyes just don’t have that special twinkle if you know what I mean? Does this ever happen to you? In this tutorial, I’ll show you a quick way to change the color of a person’s eyes to any color you’d like quickly and without the use of masks.  If I were going to change my final image, there would be a few more steps involved,  but for this tutorial we just want to see how this barmaid would look with different colored eyes.  For this to work best you should find a photo with a lot of detail in the iris and work from there. 

This photo was taken on a charity motorcycle run I was involved with a few years back and I really liked the photo. I asked the barmaid is she'd mind posing and she was more that happy to oblige. This lady had a beautiful smile and pretty eyes, but after opening it up in Photoshop I thought her eyes were kind of dull and thought they might look better blue? Like I said, I like the photo and for this lesson it'll work just fine. 

The first we have to do after bringing it into Photoshop is to select the eyes. I like to work on a duplicate layer so I click  (Ctrl + J) to make a copy of my background layer. Like everything in Photoshop, there are many ways to make selections, but I usually like to use the pen tool most of the time because it’s precise and with a little practice, it’s pretty quick. Choose your favorite method.

After we select the eyes, I’ll pop them onto their own layer (Ctrl + J) While they’re still active, I’ll feather the edges a little bit. If your eyes aren’t active, hold the Ctrl key and tap the eye layer. Now go up to the Select menu, scroll down to Modify and click on Feather. Depending on the resolution of your photo will determine how much to feather, but here we’ll do about 2 or 3 pixels just to soften the edges a little bit.

Now I go to the bottom of the Layers panel and add a Hue-Saturation Adjustment layer.  This will put an adjustment layer right on top of the layer with my eyes. To make sure I don’t change the colors of the other layers in my image when I change my eye color, I’ll clip it to my eye layer by holding the Alt key and clicking right between my eye layer and my adjustment layers.  You’ll see a funky symbol like in seen here to let you know you’ve got them clipped together. 

Blue Eyes

Brown Eyes

Green Eyes
Now, you can just play around with the sliders to tweak your colors. If you’re not getting enough oomph, you can click on the Colorize button at the bottom of the Hue-Saturation layer.  I tried out some Green eyes, the some Blue eyes and finally a set of Brown eyes. Which do you like better? Check it out for yourself, it’s quick and easy. 

As alway, remember to keep shooting and have some fun!

March 1, 2016

Quick and Easy White Balance Trick

These days just about everyone is using a smart phone and are taking more photos and videos than ever with them because they always have a camera with them. Makes sense right? Unfortunately, most of these gadgets only shoot in JPEG mode and often times these images need to have the white balance adjusted.  Here is a good way to quickly get an accurate white balance in Photoshop. This is just one of methods in my bag of tricks. Try it for yourself on one of your JPEG’s or a difficult RAW file.  To make it even easier you could create an Action for it, but that’s another tutorial.  I hope you find this tip helpful. 

1. Open an image
2. Create new blank layer and fill it with 50% gray. To do this go under the Edit menu and choose Fill or use the shortcut Shift > Backspace and choose 50% gray from the drop down menu. 3.  Change the new layers blend mode in the layers panel to Difference.

4.  Create a new Threshold Adjustment layer from the Layer dropdown menu or by clicking the circle shaped button on the bottom of the Layers Panel. When you do this, you should see a totally black screen with a Properties dialog box. See image.

Tip:  I use Actions all the time for repetitive things like this and this is one of the times creating an Action would come in handy.  You could create one to do the first 4 steps and stop automatically. Want to make it even better? Assign a keyboard shortcut or an F key to it to save you even more time.

 5.  Drag the triangle at the bottom of that dialog box all the way to the left until your image turns completely white. Now slowly slide it back to the right side until black blotches appear and stop. I usually stop at around 15 – 25% or when I get a large enough area to leave a Color Sampler marker. 

Every image is different. Sometimes you can skip step 5 because you’ll have a nice gray point to set your white balance, like on the boy’s camera body. 

6.  The Color Sampler tool is located underneath the Eyedropper tool on the toolbar in the flyout menu. After you select that you need to leave a marker. To leave a marker, press and hold the Shift key and click on a black area on your Threshold Adjustment layer. 

7.  Now you can delete the Adjustment layer and the 50% Gray layers and click on your main image layer to activate it.

8.  Add a Curves or a Levels Adjustment layer. I usually use a Curves layer myself and click on the middle eyedropper on the left side of the Properties panel to make it active. 

9.  Finally, click the Color Sampler point marker you created and instantly your color is fixed, nice huh?

10.  Now you can delete that layer and remove your marker. To do this, activate the Color Sampler tool again and then click the Clear button up on the task bar. I hope this tutorial helped you. 

Remember, as always, keep shooting and have some fun!

February 3, 2016

How Do I Do That In Lightroom - Book Review

Adobe Lightroom actually started out in Beta in January of 2006 and was officially released in February of 2007. 

These days every pro or semi-pro photographer knows the power of Lightroom and it has become their # 1 go-to tool because it is capable of doing so many things. That’s probably true, but just because it has so much power and depth, sometimes the things I need are not really that obvious. I’ll be honest, in the past I didn't use Lightroom as much as I could just because it was pretty confusing to me.

I don’t know if this happens to you, but a lot of times I’ll need to do something to an image in Lightroom but I don’t have a clue where Adobe hid that feature.  If I don’t do something all the time, sometimes I have a tendency to forget how I did that the last time. Does this sound familiar? This book was written just for that purpose. The book is called "How do I do that in Lightroom" and was written by Scott Kelby. Scott has  has written over 50 books on photography and has an easy to understand style that cuts through all the mumbo-jumbo and gets straight to the point.

If this sounds like you, then this book was designed for us. I think just about every question you may have about Lightroom and the “how to's” are answered in this book. When you're stuck and need to know just one particular thing to do to an image, all you do turn to the chapter on that topic and see how it's done. Simple huh?  

Maybe you just want to add a Watermark, or build a Slide Show or you’re working on an image that is an irregular size and you want to get a Custom Paper Size, then this book is for you.  Jump over to that page and it will tell you which buttons to click, which settings you should use and exactly how and when to use them. 

The chapters are basically self-explanatory (Print, Slideshow, Organizing, Importing, etc.)  so you can quickly find the technique you’re looking for. I keep my book close to my computer always. Maybe this book would help you out too?  Click on this link, How do I do that in Lightroom, and you'll get a few to choose from. I like the Book Depository and have ordered from them several times. Chances are you can order a copy and get it delivered for under $20! I’ve been using them for years and have never had any problems. 

I hope this post helps you out. Remember, as always, keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography