Thursday, July 2, 2015

CoffeeShop Photographer Storyboard Set 26: Five 20 x 20 inch Storyboards for Print or Web!


Today I have a new set of photographer storyboards for print or web!  This is a set of five storyboards with clipping masks (for Photoshop/PSE) that are 20inch by 20inch.

You can resize them up or down, depending on where you want to use them.  Just be sure if you are going to make it bigger do it before you add images. You can make it smaller for posting on your website after adding the images.

I used some beautiful images from Jill Wellington (Facebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) on this "ad".

If you are new to storyboards and need a tutorial or want to download my really helpful "Group It" action to make loading storyboards a breeze, please visit this post.

Download the CoffeeShop Storyboard Set 26 (five storyboards). You can also download them 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. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Puppy Love and a Kitten Surprise (Oh No!)


I haven't blogged about Piper the Puppy in a while so I wanted to catch you up on our adventures with him.  


He is healthy now and around three months old and almost 15 pounds of adorable cuteness.


You can still see his heart spot on his side. My husband says that it is now swollen from congestive heart failure since Piper is getting so big. Gotta love his sick heart jokes...

Isn't Piper precious? We still have no idea what breed he is.  Look at that curly tail, where did that come from?

We heard his mother was a medium-sized German Shepard mix and one puppy looked like him and his other three siblings looked like German Shepards.  I also found out that their foster mom stopped fostering dogs after she watched all four of his siblings die, one after another.  She said it broke her heart.  We sent her photos so she would see that Piper was happy and she said that made her feel so much better.


One thing I realized is that I need to make sure I shoot at high speed or Piper ends up being a blur. He is a pretty laid back puppy, but there are times he is bat-poop crazy.


He loves to help me work in the yard by pulling up weeds.  Wait, that isn't a weed, that is landscape grass.  "Piper, give that back!"


Piper loves his walks which is great because we are a very active family. He is taking to the leash quite well.


Here are my three boys.  Piper is a mama's boy.  Yes, I am a doggie mama.


But Piper also loves his daddy and big brothers.

I know, it probably makes you sick when I talk about him like he is human baby.

But he kind of seems like one. A furry baby human that bites occasionally.

My neighbor has twin human baby boys and they bite too.


Piper does enjoy an occasional tug-of-war.


"Gettin' that doggie mama?"

Having a puppy is a double-edged sword.  It is so darn fun AND incredibly exhausting at the same time.  Reminds me of having my human babies.  But I can stick Piper in a cage when he gets crazy which is a nice puppy-perk.

Gosh, I love baby animals so much.  They are just so cute. And annoying. And cute.

And then yesterday happened.


Oh my, what in the world is a tiny kitten doing on my front porch?

Around noon during a heavy thunderstorm the boys looked out on the porch and saw this tiny kitten sitting on top of the table looking in the window.   She (or he, I can't tell!) was tiny, bedraggled, and very thin.

I instantly put out an email to the neighborhood, but the only response was one that mentioned it looked like I have a new pet. Thanks a lot for that...

Really?  A puppy and kitten at the same time?  I love animals, but I do have my limits. Need I remind you I also have five rats?  Rats and cats don't mix.

Oh, but this kitten is so cute and probably homeless... And it loves to curl up on my chest and look up at me with its lovely blue eyes while kneading its tiny paws and purring.

Stupid kitten. I don't like kittens OR puppies.  Nope, I don't like them at all.

I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have my moments of genius.  I sent a photo to my mom. She fell in love with her (him) instantly and called me. We spent over fifteen minutes chatting on the phone about this kitty while listening to my father screaming in the background "No cats, I am allergic, I don't want a cat, no cat in my house, you get a cat and we are getting divorced!"

Wow, it is hard to talk to someone when there is a hysterical man screaming in the background.

I told Mom no problem, the shelter would take her since she is a tiny gorgeous kitten. I told her this kitten is cute, but not worth them getting a divorce. She agreed it wasn't worth the arguments and hysteria.  And I suddenly I realized I was stuck with a kitten that night.

Oh no.

But ten minutes later I received a text that read "He says I can have it.  Of course, need to make sure no one lost it." Deciding I wasn't going to waste any time in case they changed their mind, Duke and I rushed little kitten over to their house in the pouring rain.

I also risked the wrath of my German father.  He can be pretty scary when he is upset.  He also goes a bit bat-poop crazy at times, but he has never bit me. Yet...


I walked into the house, nervous about a possible confrontation with my crazy German father.

When we got there it took about one minute for this darn little kitten to win both of my parents' hearts and late last night the photos started arriving.

I have decided my mother has something big on my father and is blackmailing him.  And this little kitten is very manipulative as Mom tells me that he follows Dad everywhere and insists on cuddling with him. Kitten can be very passive/aggressive.  That is why I don't like them.  Nope, I don't like sweet little fluffy adorable kittens at all...

Yeah, it looks like they have a new baby too.

SUCKERS!!!

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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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

CoffeeShop Photoshop/PSE Tutorial: Using the Displace Filter to Blend Images to Any Background!


I am so excited about this tutorial that I am posting today. Until recently the displace filter in Photoshop/PSE was a complete mystery to me but now I wouldn't live without it.  This technique is so valuable because you can add images, text, logos, signs, basically anything to any surface and make it look like it blends in perfectly.  Imagine the possibilities in your portrait work!

This method is very easy.  I am putting together an action set for this editing technique that will create the displacement map and apply it to your image.  This action set will be posted in the next day or two, but until then I want to walk you through the technique. 


You can add anything to any surface. Make your own custom graffiti wall for your portraits!  In the sample above I added the butterfly to the brick wall. I used these images (brick wall, butterfly) for this example. Amazing, right?


It works equally well on metal surfaces.  I used these images (flag, metal wall) for this example.


I am also working on a special action kit (this will include heart designs, actions, and full instructions) for "carving" initials or images in trees and wood.  I plan to have it finished by next week.  Now you don't have to deface public property or trees ;-), you can do it digitally!

This is a perfect way to personalize engagement, wedding, and couple portraits. I have wanted to know how to realistically add this effect for years and never found a really good tutorial that worked in both Photoshop and PSE.  So I spent hours playing and decided to write my own and include actions to make it easy for all of us.  Note: This beautiful engagement image was from B.liss Photography.

Now on to today's tutorial for Photoshop and PSE.

CoffeeShop Tutorial: Using the Displace Filter to Blend Layers:

I used free images in this post from Pixabay (wall with ivy,  Las Vegas sign). You can download them to edit along with me if you want.  :-)


1. Create Displacement Map:  Open the image you are going to use for your background.


2.  Desaturate the image.


3.  Use a levels or curves adjustment to increase the contrast. You want this image to be high contrast as we are going to apply it as our displacement map to make our new layer blend in so that it looks like it was on the original background.


4. Save this B&W high contrast image as a psd file. I save it with the same name as the original file, but you can rename it Displace Map or something similar if you want. Then revert the wood/ivy background back to its original color version.


5. Adding the Las Vegas Sign: Open the image you are going to add on top of your background. This can be a logo, text, image, sign, etc. If needed, use your favorite extraction tool to extract the image you are going to add to your background. If you add a text layer make sure to rasterize it before going to the next step.


6. I resized the sign to fit.  Feel free to use the transform tools to adjust your own image if you need to distort or warp it to make it fit realistically.


7.  Add Texture: Make two copies of your Background layer (Ctrl-J).


8. Drag these on top, desaturate them, and group them both with the sign.  Then put them in overlay or soft light blending mode.  This adds additional texture.  Turn on one or both layers depending on your image.

This already looks pretty nice, but I am going to add the displace filter to make the sign look like it is painted on the wood.


9.  Click on the sign layer to select it and go to Filter,  Distort, Displace.



10. These are the original settings. I use these setting first and adjust it later if needed.  Lower resolution images need lower settings (say 4, 4).  It is usually best to start lower and apply the filter a few times. Don't worry about the other settings since we are using the original image as our displace filter so it will fit perfectly.


11. As you can see, the filter made the sign look wrapped around the wood  planks and painted on.


12.  If you want to add more of this effect, just reapply the filter.  If you want to reduce it and you are using Photoshop; go to Edit, Fade and adjust the slider down.  If you are in PSE and find the effect too strong; go to Edit, Step Backwards and reapply using lower settings (such as 5, 5) instead of 10, 10.


13.  Adjust Color and Contrast: As a final step I added a hue/saturation layer above the sign and under the B&W background layers.  In this case I wanted the sign to look a bit more weathered so I lowered the Saturation and raised the Lightness a bit.


I hope you are as excited about this technique as I am!  Please check back in a few days and I will post the actions to create the displacement map and to actually apply them to your own images.  Then I will have a complete set of actions/design elements/tutorial for carving initials/text into wood. I am really excited about posting that set and just need to get it all finalized.

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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Sunday, June 28, 2015

CoffeeShop "Mocha Velour" Photoshop/PSE Action!


Happy Sunday! Today I have a new action called CoffeeShop "Mocha Velour". This action creates a soft lightly tinted B&W image and is fully adjustable like most of my actions. You can also use this action to create a beautiful dramatic B&W image with no tint.

This action looks best on outdoor portraits/still life with lots of beautiful light.

I used a beautiful images from Jill Wellington (Facebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) on this tutorial today.

CoffeeShop "Mocha Velour" Action Tutorial:


1. Open your image.


2. Run the action.  The final result will be quite hazy. You can adjust the opacity of the "Mocha Velour" layer to add or reduce the haze.  I usually like it around the preset value of 60%, but I also like to use the layer mask to remove some of that layer off the main subject of my image.



3. I clicked on the layer mask of the "Mocha Velour" layer to select it, and used a soft black brush at 20% opacity to paint over the girl.  To see where you are painting Shift-option/Alt click on the layer mask before painting and repeat to remove the red. This also removes the tint so use a soft hand.


Optional: Go one step further and turn off the "Mocha Velour" layer to get a beautiful high contrast B&W edit.

One thing I love about so many of my actions is you can turn off layers and create custom edits that are gorgeous (and completely different than what you see on the post "ad"). Don't be afraid to play with the layers, you can customize your own perfect edit!

Download the CoffeeShop "Mocha Velour" Photoshop/PSE action. 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.



Thursday, June 25, 2015

CoffeeShop "Independence 2" Digital Paper Pack!


I love the 4th of July and wanted to post another free digital paper pack.  I used some digital designs from Amandaelizabeth84 at Pixabay to create these papers.  It really saved me some time and I am really thankful for photographers and designers who so generously share their work for free.  I think this set is really fun and I hope you can use them in your own work.

Download the CoffeeShop "Independence 2" 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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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

CoffeeShop Photoshop/PSE Editing Tutorial: Using "2 Minute Miracle Plus" & "Aphrodite"!


I have so many actions available now that I often get overwhelmed trying to figure out which one to use on an edit.  I am sure you have the same problem, so every week I am going to put up a tutorial using some of my past actions.

Today I am editing this gorgeous portrait using the CoffeeShop "2 Minute Miracle Plus" and "Aphrodite" actions.  You can download both free actions on the posts and also find step-by-step instructions on applying them to your image.

I also have a special action/preset download pack where you can get all of my favorite actions/presets in one simple download (hundreds of actions plus some bonus ones not found here on my site!) and help support my blog.


1.  This is my starting image.  You can download it here (and check out Lisa's other free images).


2.  Adjusting Contrast:  I started by adding a Levels adjustment layer and lightening the midtowns and highlights by moving their sliders to the left.  This caused some hot spots (blown-out areas) on her nose and upper forehead.


I used a soft black low opacity brush and clicked to select the layer mask and painted some of that layer off her nose and forehead.

Then I noticed her eyes and lower left part of her face has some shadows that I want to soften.


3.  Soften Shadows:  I added a Levels adjustment layer and put it in screen mode.  It has completely blown out the image but don't worry.


I clicked on its layer mask and filled it with black.  Then I used a soft white low opacity brush and carefully painted over areas where I wanted to remove shadows and improve the overall lighting.


4.  2 Minute Miracle Plus Action:  I ran my "2 Miracle Miracle Plus" action. I edited the eyes using Eye Define, Bright Eyes, and White Whites.  I was happy with the Smooth Skin layer so I left it alone, and I dialed up Boost to 64%.


5.  Aphrodite Action:  I finished up my edit by running my "Aphrodite" action.  This is one of my absolute favorite actions to run on portraits.


After the action finished I only made one change. I turned on the Contrast Boost layer, brought it up to 80% opacity, and then used a soft black 100% opacity brush and painted over her face.  This is a nifty way to burn in the background.


Quite a difference, right?  Never be afraid to combine actions.  And your own edits can be very subtle or dramatic like the image I edited here.  Have fun and create your own photo art!

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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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Link Love! Beautiful Merino Wool Braids from Lil Prop Shop 15% off, Free Pretty Presets Webinar, Luxe Photoshop Actions Overlay Sale and MORE!

Rita:  Link love today!!!  Make sure you read the entire post because a few of the freebies and sales listed end tonight.

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Rita:  If you want some gorgeous photographer props you should check out Lil Prop Shop!  I am in love with this maternity gown. From now until the end of July all merino wool products are 15% off in both their webshop and etsy sites.



One of our favorite props at Lil Prop Shop is our merino wool products. Currently we have two types of merino wool props: Hand woven mini blankets and merino wool braids.

Merino wool is so great to work with because it is considered hypoallergenic, meaning it is less likely to irritate babies senstive skin. It is also super soft making it super snuggly and comfy to lay newborns on.

Merino Wool Braids

Our wool braids are great as basket stuffers and to wrap around around newborns in images. You can also coil them to lay newborns on top. They give so many options!

Merino Wool Braids Lil Prop Shop

Merino Wool Braids Lil Prop Shop

The braids are about 3 meters long, and we usually have a select number of them on the shop available to ship. However, if there is not a color in ready to ship, we provide a pre-order option where you can choose from 54 different colors.


Hand Woven Mini Blankets

These mini blankets are hand woven to give a unique look. Like the braids they are made from soft hypoallergenic merino wool.

Mini Blankets by Lil Prop Shop
Image from Elisabeth Photography

Mini Blankets by Lil Prop Shop


These are approximatley 30 cm x 43 cm in size and are available for pre-order in 54 different colors.

We are hoping to soon be expanding our merino wool products, so be sure to follow us on twitter, facebook and instragram to keep updated with all the newest things we are working on.

And even more good news! From now until the end of July all merino wool products are 15% off in both our webshop and etsy sites.


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Rita:  Free Pretty Presets Webinar on editing with Presets, Brushes, and Filters in Lightroom.  It is tonight so go register now and grab your seat!


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Rita: Great blog post by Pretty Presets:  Can you Photograph People in the Harsh Midday Sun?

                   
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Rita: Go check out the Pretty Preset Summer Photo Challenge!


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Rita: Click on the image below or HERE to grab these beautiful sky textures from Luxe Photoshop Actions before the sale ends!