Monday, May 23, 2016

CoffeeShop "Matte Enchantment" Photoshop/PSE Action!


Today I have a beautiful new matte action thanks to the talented photographer Leslie Hoffman (see some of her work here). She contacted me on Facebook and asked me if I had a soft matte-effect action with a reddish tint. Well, I didn't then but I have one now!

Leslie sent some of her images over to me and after a few back-and-forths I was able to write an action that she loved, and today I am posting it here to share with all of you. "Matte Enchantment" is a completely adjustable matte-effect action with a beautiful subtle warm tint, perfect for outdoor portraits.

Leslie also wanted a new matte B&W action and with her help I was able to design it and it will be coming out in a few days! I love when you ask me to create specific freebies for my site. I am always looking for inspiration and you might just get a free custom-designed action or storyboard!!!



You can see the before and after above in this image from Leslie Hoffman.


Here is another one before and after with an image from Leslie.

In my ad at top I also used this gorgeous swimsuit image as an example.

CoffeeShop "Matte Enchantment" Photoshop/PSE Tutorial:


This is the original image.


Run "Matte Enchantment". There will be only one adjustment you make while the action is running. This Curves adjustment layer (not available on PSE UNLESS you use an action!) allows you to fine-tune the matte-effect.

Just move the circled dot around until you have a nice low contrast image. Then press OK.


This is what the image looks like after the action finishes. Simply adjust the layers to taste!

I would love to see your before and after images on my Facebook page.

Download the CoffeeShop "Matte Enchantment" Photoshop/PSE Action. You can also download it here or in my Action Download Pack.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Friday, May 20, 2016

{CoffeeShop Family Flying Circus Adventures}: Chapter 3, "Salvage Yard Queen"

Interested to read more of the {CoffeeShop Family Flying Circus Adventures}?

--------------------------

We had been shopping for a family plane for close to a year. After driving all of the way to East Texas to look at the "perfect" aircraft only to find out it was a "Hanger Crash Queen", we decided to take a little break from plane shopping. 


But that didn't keep us from visiting local airports. Every nice weekend we would head out in our car to watch airplanes with the boys. And it was a lot of fun.

But I was still keeping an eye out on local aircraft ads and one day came across a Piper 1973 Challenger for sale that met my three major requirements (decent engine, no major damage history, all logs). It also was fully decked out with a GPS and autopilot, local, and priced to sell.

I called up the owner and he told me that he bought two planes recently for his daughter; a 172 Cessna (high-wing plane) and the Piper Challenger (low-wing plane). She was training to be a pilot and apparently had a generous dad.

He said that she preferred flying the Cessna so he wanted to sell the Piper. I asked my normal questions and everything seemed great until I asked him about the " No major damage history" part of his ad. After being burned the last time I wanted confirmation that a hanger had not fallen on the plane.

He told me that it had no "major" damage history, and when I tried to follow up on the "major" part he suddenly had to get a call. Interesting. So there was damage history, just nothing he considered major. And he didn't want to discuss it, which is a major warning bell.

I need to count how many times I used the word "major" in this post. I majorly like the word "major".

We decided to go ahead and look at the Piper since it was only 30 minutes away. If he was being cagey that was a problem, but we would look over the plane and the logbooks.


The aircraft was quite nice with a brand-new shiny paint job and a completely new interior. However, it had several instrument upgrades that should have made this plane much more expensive than the listed price, which gave me some major pause.

I snuck in another "major". Did you notice?

Why was he selling this plane so cheaply? Was it simply because he was rich and wasn't concerned about losing money or was something "off" with this Piper?

I called the owner from the plane and confirmed he had all of the logbooks on site and told him I wanted to see them. Then I questioned him again about the damage history.

"So you mentioned there was no "major" damage history, but has there been some minor damage history?" I knew the brand-new paint job/interior could be hiding something.

He paused and said "There hasn't been any major damage history, the plane is in great shape." Then he changed the subject. Again.

I was getting frustrated AND suspicious, so I decided to Google the N-number of the plane with "plane wreck, damage" in the search and instantly got a hit on the Texas Air Salvage site.

!!! Major Damage History Alert !!! 

 I clicked on the link and up popped some images of a decrepit, peeling paint, hail-damaged, flat tire, original torn and filthy 70's interior-Piper Challenger stored in a SALVAGE HANGER.


This is not the actual plane, but as I did not bookmark the site I wanted give you an idea of what the Piper looked like at the salvage yard. OK, maybe I am exaggerating a bit as the plane did have wings still attached, but that aircraft looked unflyable. My spell check keeps on changing that to "unflappable", which is not the feeling I experienced when I saw the photos...

I read up on the "Salvage Yard Queen" and found it had been totaled by an insurance company after being badly damaged in a major ;-) hail storm. It was obvious by the orange and avocado green paint colors and interior fabrics colors that they were original from the 70's. This plane had been sitting outdoors, unloved, in horrible weather for a LONG time. 

The current owner had obviously purchased the plane for cheap (did I mention it was from a SALVAGE YARD???) and cleaned her up nicely.  But I personally think a plane that was totaled by an insurance company and purchased in a salvage yard has major damage history. 

Standing there I did some more research on my phone and found out that the owner of this plane sells planes for a living. So his "story" of purchasing this plane for his daughter to train in was most likely a complete lie.

Another "used car salesman"... 


Paul and the boys were excitedly looking over the instrument panel as I went over there to tell them the sad news. Needless to say, Paul was disappointed but not surprised. We both knew that there had to be a reason that this Piper was priced so low. 

We locked up the plane, got back in our car and headed home. 

I turned to Paul and said "Plane shopping has to be the worst shopping in the world. Are we ever going to find a decent plane we can afford?"

We looked at each other and just had to laugh. When the owner called me later that evening I wanted to confront him and call him a Liar-McLiar, but I realized that it would be a waste of my time. I told him we would think about it. And next week the listing was gone, so someone purchased the "Salvage Yard Queen". Better them than us.

And we were back to looking at the aircraft ads, again... But I have to confess we spent many an hour fondly reminiscing about our crazy airplane shopping adventures!

To be continued!!!


Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Thursday, May 19, 2016

CoffeeShop "Painterly Strokes" Fine Art Texture Set


I am addicted to textures and today I made a new set of fine art textures called "Painterly Strokes". This set has three neutral colored textures that will add a a beautiful painterly effect to your images without changing the original color. I created all three of these textures using the Topaz Impression Photoshop/PSE plug-in (app).

I actually prefer using textures without color as I usually run an action on my image and then add the texture as the final step.

On the flower image (original) in my example above I ran "Beachy Luxe" and then added the texture. On the beautiful swimsuit model (original) I added some trees to the left side and then ran a new unreleased action (coming soon!) and then the texture.


Here is another image (original) where I added a peach color-fill adjustment layer in soft light, sun flare, and my "Painterly Strokes" texture 3X in Overlay blending mode.

Download the CoffeeShop "Painterly Strokes" Fine Art Texture Set. You can also download it here.


Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

CoffeeShop "Warm Beauty" Portrait Photoshop/PSE Action!


I love both creating and using portrait actions, and today I am so excited to blog about my newest that I call "Warm Beauty". This action is completely customizable and adds beautiful warmth to your portrait and includes my magical auto-skin-smoothing layer. I love using this on portraits when you want to add some warmth and light.

I am also working on a version that is perfect for non-portrait images and that will come out in a few days.

I wanted to mention that I package all of my favorite actions in one simple download. If you have PSE11-14 or Photoshop you can add all of the actions in one group and they are sorted by Portrait, Arty, and Storyboard. This month the pack also includes my newest Lightroom Presets and two exclusive action sets you can't get for free here on my blog (my watermarking action kit and Magic Retouching Action Set). I also include a pdf file that shows you before and after images of the actions and a clickable link to instructions. Upgrade to my Mega Download pack for an extra $10 and you get hundreds of design elements including my photographer storyboards, textures, etc. Purchase of these download packs support my blog and allow me to keep on creating freebies. :-)


On this edit I ran "Warm Beauty" and added my Swirly Painterly texture twice in soft light.

For my tutorial today I used these gorgeous portraits (1, 2)  from Adina from Romania! You have to check out her Pixabay images, they are so beautiful. I want to thank her for generously sharing her work so action-writers like me can play with them. :-)

CoffeeShop "Warm Beauty" Photoshop/PSE Action Tutorial:


This is the "before" image. You can see the "after" image on top. 

Run the "Warm Beauty" action.


When the "Surface Blur" pane pops up, adjust the Radius and Threshold to soften skin. You can reduce smoothness after the action finishes but not add to it, so I over-smooth the skin in this step.


When the "Replace Color" pane pops up, use the circled eyedropper to click on the facial skin. This will allow the action to automatically smooth skin. Adjust the Fuzziness to taste.



I then selected the + eyedropper and clicked on the darker skin by the flowers to add it to the selection.

Don't get too concerned about this step, you can fine-tune the layer mask after the action finishes running.


This is the image after "Warm Beauty", no adjustments.


I usually go and fine-tune the "Skin Smooth" layer and make sure to remove it off everything but the skin using a soft black brush on the layer mask.


Then I use a black brush on the "Touch of Warmth" and "Extra Warmth" layer masks to remove the warm tint off the iris. I occasionally remove it off teeth/whites of eyes, but it can make them look too cool so I didn't do it in this case.

Finally I adjust the opacity of both of the warm layers to taste (I upped them both for this edit).

I would love to see your before and after images editing using any of my actions on my Facebook page!

Download the CoffeeShop "Warm Beauty" Photoshop/PSE Action. You can also download it here or get it in my CoffeeShop Action Download Pack!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
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Monday, May 16, 2016

CoffeeShop 16x20 Birthday Photographer Storyboard Set #4!


Another rainy day and we are all stir-crazy! After years and years of drought we are now going through an rainy season and they are predicting 5-10 inches in some areas of Texas this week.  When we were going through the worst of the drought (there were days we would go outside and see ashes floating thickly through the air due to huge forest fires around us) I swore I would never ever complain about rain. Well, I have broke my promise and am complaining... How soon we forget, right? So I am reluctantly happy for the rain (as long as it doesn't flood this time) but I will also be happy when we see blue sky after these weeks and weeks of dreary weather.

I am finishing up a new amazing portrait action and it should be out tomorrow. But I still have a freebie for today, a new set of birthday-inspired 16x20 photographer storyboards.

All three storyboards are layered psd files for Photoshop/PSE so you can add your images using clipping masks (tutorial and free action). You can also change the background color (two of the storyboards have customizable dotted paper), the color in the text boxes, and edit the text itself.

I used this cool font in the storyboards and you can download it for free.

A special thanks to Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) for allowing me to use her images in my storyboard example above.

Download the CoffeeShop Storyboard Set #4, 16x20 Birthday. You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures. 

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Friday, May 13, 2016

{Friday Photo Bliss}: Galveston Beach Love

On Fridays I like to post snapshots I have taken recently that make me happy. 

Last Thursday the weather was beautiful (70-80 degrees, low humidity, and sunny) and I called up my mom and asked if she wanted to drive down to Galveston and spend the night. She said yes, so we booked a room at our favorite resort (one bedroom 650 sq.ft. condo, beach view, full kitchen for $117+tax!), and headed out to spend 24 hours at the beach.

You can do that when you live only an hour or two from Galveston Island.


We got in late afternoon, checked in, and hit the beach. The boys are itching to go swimming but I made them stand for a quick photo. I am the photographer of the family and I have almost no photos of myself, so I made sure to have my mom take a quick snapshot. I didn't even bring my "real" camera this trip. These photos are all taken with my iPhone (and edited in LR).

My swimsuit bottom's elastic didn't make it even one year. As I was walking around I noticed that the the fabric was completely loose and waving around in the breeze like giant stretched-out granny panties. Thank goodness it had a skirt or I would have been arrested for indecent exposure!


Then the boys were off!

I always take a photo of the boys running out into the surf. It is a family tradition.


Oh boy, the water was cold.  We are Texans and prefer our gulf water to be warm like a bath. :-) But the boys decided to go ahead and swim for a bit. They did complain that there weren't any decent waves.


Mom and I sat in the shadow water and admired the beautiful evening. 

The boys quickly became frozen popsicles and we went inside and had a hot shower and dinner (homemade chili) and then decided to go for a walk on the beach and watch the sunset.


So many people visiting Galveston Island only go to the main beaches by the sea wall. They are crowded and you are inundated by traffic noise.

But if you drive five minutes out of the main part of town you will find gorgeous beaches that rival the beaches found on the East Coast. Heck, they are as nice as many beaches in Florida (without the white sand and clear water).

The beaches here are clean, not usually crowded, and bordered by a few hotels and luxurious beach houses. Our hotel is right next to Galveston Pocket Park 3. There are restrooms, showers, and lots of parking. I am going to come here for the day this summer with Piper the dog. He has never been to the beach.


Tonight the sky was stunning. I couldn't stop taking photos.


The boys usually don't want to walk on the beach, they prefer playing in the surf or sand. But tonight they were in awe of nature's beauty and didn't complain once.

You might notice that Duke and Imp are wearing Crocs with socks on the beach. They are weird.

It was a perfect end to the evening and we got back to our hotel after dark, tired but happy.


Our room faced the east and the boys and I woke up when it started getting light around six the next morning. The sunrise was supposed to be at 6:30, so we eagerly watched the sky. The boys had never seen a beach sunrise.

The sun suddenly popped up, right on time.


We were amazed how quickly it rose into the sky.


Wow, another perfect day. I want to buy this beach house. Too bad I can't even afford to rent it for one night! We met a group of people paying $800/night for a similar one on this beach.


We decided to have breakfast later and headed out to the beach around seven. No sunscreen necessary, yay!


I didn't even put on a bathing suit, assuming it would be too cold to swim.


So I sat on the beach and enjoyed the view. Wow, another perfect sky.


The kids hit the surf and started yelling that it was warm. I didn't believe them and waded out into the water and found they were right. The air was so cool that the water felt perfect.

Darn me for not putting on a my suit...


So I walked a short way down the beach, wading in the shallow surf, enjoying the perfect morning.


As did the boys.


We had to check out at 10, so we went up to our condo around 8:30, had a big breakfast (eggs, coconut-flour muffins, sausage, and lots of coffee) and packed up. Then we headed out to the beach one last time.  It was Friday so they were putting out the rental beach chairs for the weekend visitors.

Wow, I hated to leave. I love the beach and 24-hours was just too short... But it is better than not going to the beach at all. ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


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Thursday, May 12, 2016

CoffeeShop "Beach Life" Digital Paper Pack!


Today I have a beach-themed digital paper pack to share with you (inspired by our last trip to the beach). This set has five papers you can use on your websites or any digital/paper designs you want.

I used these two designs (1, 2) to design this pack. I used the Topaz Impression Photoshop/PSE plug-in (app) to add a hand drawn appearance.

Download the CoffeeShop "Beach Life" Digital Paper Pack. You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


More from Rita:
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