Sunday, August 30, 2015

Homemade Rockets, Tubing the "World's Shortest River", Adorable Puppy Pics!


I am ashamed to say that for the first time in months I don't have a freebie to post this Sunday. I have an action almost finished and hope to have it up tomorrow, but due to everyone but Imp being sick the last few days I am behind in my blogging.

So today I am going to post a few of my favorite images from last week. Before we all got sick and Duke threw up all of his bedroom and the hallway and my dear husband had to steam-clean the carpets. Twice...


We love science and we find cool videos on YouTube like how to make a homemade baking soda/vinegar rocket. Just duct tape three unsharpened pencils (Duke, are you crazy, you can't tape those sharpened pencils on the rocket, you will put out someone's eye!) to an empty water bottle as the rocket stand.

Then put an inch or two of vinegar in the bottle and drop in a  piece of paper wrapped around several tablespoons of baking soda. Stick in the cork, shake hard, and quickly put the wiggly rocket on the pavement, making sure to point it toward your little brother and run like Hades.


Kablooey!

Wow, that wasn't quite as dramatic as expected. But still watch Mom run outdoors screaming "Put on your airsoft goggles for goodness sake, you are going to lose an eye!"  I am married to an optometrist so I am very protective of all eyes.


How is it that the neighborhood boys knew my boys were making homemade rockets? Can they smell explosions like a fresh donut?

Thankfully no one lost any eyes thanks to me passing out goggles.

Imp's new nickname is Calvin because he is EXACTLY like Calvin of the Calvin and Hobbes comics. Look at that nutty face. He is so weird.


Back in the house feeling very good-parent since I knew all eyes were protected, I looked out the kitchen window and saw Piper sitting on a table staring at me. Poor puppy, someone forget to let him in!


We have been sad the last few weeks so we decided to take a short trip to the Texas Hill Country and go tubing down the Como River (the shortest river in the world?).

Unfortunately we don't have any photos of me looking sexy in my bikini while floating down the river sipping on a chilled glass of white wine. Well, actually I was wearing running shorts, t-shirt, swim shoes and huge hat, but I am sure I looked sexy. At least my knees looked sexy. I have sexy knees for someone in their 40's.

After tubing we drove the scenic River Drive along the Guadalupe River. See my cute husband up there? He also has very sexy knees.


Goodness, here I am! One of the few photos of me with my family and of course they cut off my feet.

My foot looked sexy, trust me. Maybe even more sexy than my knees.


Pretty!

Not so pretty! Here is Imp's face after eating a chocolate Kind bar. He had no idea why I was taking this photo and when he saw it he demanded I erase it. Right, like he is the boss of me. Take this Imp-Calvin, now at least five people will see your messy little face.

Sue me!


Our neighbors were dog-sitting Piper and when we picked him up he was completely worn out. They have several dogs and cats and kids and he had the time of his life.


Wow, he is still tired. He is getting so big that he is invading my dear husband's side of the recliner couch.

See his cute heart patch? One vet told me he was going to be a small to medium-sized dog. He is 35 pounds and five months old. I am starting to think that vet might be a bit off... ;-)


This really doesn't fit in with the rest of the images, but I had to show you Imp's creation. He wanted to make Duke a snack so he took seaweed sheets and cut them into pizza shapes and used a piece of cheese for the crust and almonds for the toppings.

That kid is weird.


I will end with Piper, once again hogging my back porch fan.

I love that stupid dog. Next time I am bringing him tubing with us. I bet he would look sexy in a bikini. I mean, come on, looks at those doggy knees.

Have a great Sunday!

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, August 25, 2015

CoffeeShop "Aphrodite Posh" Photoshop/PSE Action!


I wrote a new action called "Aphrodite Posh" that I am adding to my Aphrodite set. This version has more contrast and is gorgeous on outdoor portraits or still life. Like most of my actions, it is also completely adjustable.

I would love to see your own before and afters using this action on my Facebook page! And if you haven't visited here in a while, be sure to check out all of my new actions, presetsstoryboards, digital papers, and designs or purchase my download packs to get all of my favorite goodies in one simple download and help support this site. These packs contain some actions not found for free on my blog. :-)

I used a beautiful images from Jill Wellington (Etsy Shop, Facebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) on this example. That gorgeous model is Jill's daughter.

Download the CoffeeShop "Aphrodite Posh" 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.


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Sunday, August 23, 2015

CoffeeShop 12x12 Photographer Storyboard Set #29 for Print or Web!


Happy Sunday everyone! Today I have a set of four 12inch by 12inch storyboards with clipping masks that you can use in print or on the web.

I used some beautiful images from the Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) on this example. That gorgeous model is Jill's daughter.

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 free CoffeeShop Photographer Storyboard Set #29. 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, August 21, 2015

{Friday Photo Bliss}

On Friday I like to post snapshots I took during the week that make me happy.

We finally had some rainy days after months of dry, hot days.


The boys made the best of it and pulled out their Texas A&M blankie (even though it was almost 80 degrees) and read on the couch. Imp is addicted to TinTin and Duke just started the The Lightning Thief series.

Both my boys learned to read thanks to TinTin.


Imp is really into making hot tea every afternoon, so we have tea-time together. For some reason this time they thought it would be tasty to add gelatin to our tea. Yeah, that was not a keeper recipe. YUCK.


Imp loves to draw elaborate war machines driven by penguins on my big wipe board. I always get a bit sad erasing them before school, so I take a photo. I hate to tell you this Imp, but there is no way in Hades that ship is going to fly. Maybe their private pilot dad needs to give them another physics lesson on flying.


Back to TinTin and a hot cup of decaf coffee with cream. Reading and coffee; yes, he is my child for sure...

Don't really know what is going on with that lampshade, but it is probably crooked because of Piper.


We go on daily walks because I have to make sure the boys get plenty of exercise or they will drive me crazy. I go ahead and bring along Piper the Puppy even though he is very laid-back and always perfectly content to curl up on my lap and cuddle all day long.

NOT! His nickname is Hyper P, need I say more?


"Will you hurry up already? I need to get to my favorite grassy curb so I can leave a big gift for Mommy. I know she loves my gifts because she always has a special protective sack in hand to pick it up so she can carry it on our walk and show it off to the neighbors."

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, August 20, 2015

CoffeeShop "Firefly Nights" Action: Creating Dramatic Edits (No Fireflies!)






This week I released my newest action set called "Firefly Nights". The action included in that set can be used in many different ways. Today I wanted to show you how I used that action to create a very dramatic portrait with beautiful lighting and no bugs. ;-)


I used a gorgeous image from Enchanted by Leesa (BlogFacebookTwitterInstagram) on this tutorial.  


You can see how I edited this image in the screenshot above. I ran my "Firefly Nights" action and turned on the "Night 2" layer and set it at 87% opacity. I painted out the little girl with a soft black brush on the white layer mask. I kept "Night" at 100% opacity and just painted the layer off her eyes.

I painted some of the "Remove Red Casts" off her skin because it was removing too much color.

I used a soft white 100% opacity brush on the "Light 2" layer mask and added the light to the little girl. Then I used a lower opacity white brush on the "Light" layer to add some additional light to her face and legs.


I used a pretty image from Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) on this example.  Jill's portraits are always beautifully light and bright. I wanted to use the magic of Photoshop to create a moody dramatic edit which reminded me a little of Little Red Riding Hood going to go see her granny.  The wolf is right there, off camera. :-)


I put both "Night" and "Night 2" at 100%. I painted all of "Night 2" off her skin and dress and painted "Night" off her face and the basket.

I painted the "Light 2" layer on her and didn't do anything with the "Light" layer. I also painted off the "Remove Red Casts" layer on her face as it removed her blush and lipstick.

Grab the free action here and post your own edits on my Facebook page. I love to see your work.

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, August 18, 2015

CoffeeShop Photoshop/PSE Tutorial: How to Add a Person to a Digital Backdrop!


Today I wanted to put together a tutorial where I show you how I would add a baby to a digital background. This is a really fun technique and I think you will enjoy it!

My friend Jill Wellington (Etsy ShopFacebook, Blog, YouTube Videos, Pixabay) sells beautiful digital backgrounds so I am using one of her backgrounds and also one of her baby images in this tutorial.

I have never been successful at this technique as I had issues matching lighting and color between the two images. However, I watched Jill's video tutorial and got some really great tips and I feel more confident. I am using her video tutorial and a few of my own twists to do this edit, so I would suggest watching Jill's video before reading my tutorial below. She goes into much more detail and discusses things I didn't have time to cover.

CoffeeShop Photoshop/PSE Tutorial: Adding a Baby to a Digital Background


These are my starting images, both from Jill. I wanted to show you that you don't have to photograph you baby/child against a neutral background. In fact, most of Jill's background have gorgeous outdoor light, so it would be better for you to use an image photographed outside in natural light.

It is also a good idea to add the baby before using any actions. Once your baby looks like it belongs in the background, then run your action.

Watch Jill's Video Tutorial for additional editing tips!


Select Baby: There are many ways to select a person in Photoshop, and I am just going to show you the way I usually do it. I click "W" to grab the magic wand and make sure the Quick Selection Tool (screenshot above) is selected. Then I click around on the baby to select him. I hold alt to remove from the selection if I go over the lines.

It is best to zoom in and take your time.


Click on the Refine Edge button on top while the baby is selected and you will be able to see how well you did. In this case I am pretty happy with my selection. I can always erase anything "over the lines" later after adding him to the background.

I left the wooden box in the selection even thought it won't show in my final image. This way I can get an idea where my baby's bottom should be located. In my first version my poor baby was sitting up much too high and it cracked Jill up. Either my baby was floating in midair OR sitting on a pillow. This time I think I was more successful.

Note: Once you select the baby, you can save him and use him on several backgrounds. :-)


Add Baby to Background: Now click on your selected baby and drag it on your digital background. Resize baby to fit (Ctrl-T). Then dial down the opacity of the baby layer so you can see the background and drag him where he would be sitting/standing naturally. Dial back up the opacity when you are finished.


You can use an erasure to remove the bottom of the baby, but I prefer to add a layer mask and use a black hard brush. This way if I remove too much I can add it back in with a white brush on the layer mask.

If you want to remove something against a straight line, click on the beginning of the selection, hold shift, and then click on the end and it will remove the edge cleanly.


Correct Color: There are so many ways to do this, but this is the technique Jill taught me in her video and it is brilliant!  Take a few minutes and go watch it for more details. I have never seen this technique before and it is so easy compared to the other tutorials I have seen and it works quite well.

I clicked the background to select it and then went to Filter, Blur, Average.


This is what my background looks "averaged". I grabbed my eyedropper (I) and clicked on this background to change the foreground color palette to match.


Then I went up to Edit, Undo Average to return my background to its former glory.


Then I added a Color Fill adjustment layer on top of the baby and grouped it to the baby layer. it should automatically apply the foreground color I selected with the eyedropper-click on the blurred averaged background.

Poor baby, he looks horrible!


Then I put this layer in Soft light or Overlay blending mode and adjusted the opacity to taste. Now baby matches his background.


Adjusting Contrast: Then I clicked on the baby layer and added a Levels adjustment layer and adjusted the sliders to match the contrast of the baby to the background. In this case I had to add contrast.


Then I decided that the red on his jumper did not really match the red of the wagon, so I clicked on the baby layer again and added a Hue/Saturation layer and adjusted the Master Hue until I loved the color and then adjusted the Saturation to taste.

I filled the mask with black, zoomed in, and used a hard white 100% opacity brush to add that color to his jumper.

If your baby has any color casts on his skin or hair (reddish skin or green from grass is often a problem), then add another Hue/Saturation layer and change the setting from "Master" to the color cast (like Green) and lower the saturation to remove the color. You can then fill the mask with black and paint on the image with a soft white brush to remove the unwanted color where needed.


Flatten and you are done! Here is the baby in the wagon, together at last. I am actually pretty satisfied with this edit as I don't think he looks too fake. Now I can finally run my action.


Here is my final result: "Vintage Baby in Wagon".  I used a new action I just wrote, "Aphrodite Luxe" and will be posting it here for download in a few days. I think it looks amazing on portraits and doesn't blow out fair skin as much as my original "Aphrodite" action.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. I would love to see your own images using digital backgrounds on my Facebook page.

Want to see anything specific on my site such as editing tutorials, storyboards, actions, etc? Just leave a comment as I am always looking for new ideas for posts.

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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Sunday, August 16, 2015

CoffeeShop "Firefly Nights" Complete Editing Kit!


I have been a little sad lately and I found one thing that really cheers me up is to play on the computer and design new things for my blog. It has been too hot to spend much time outdoors and the boys enjoy building legos or reading during the middle of the day, so I can run up to my computer and distract myself for an hour or two doing something I really love.

Today I am excited to release my "Firefly Nights" editing kit.  This kit allows you to take a daytime shot and turn it into a magical night full of fireflies. The kit contains everything you need to complete the edit including a "night" action, firefly overlay, and mason jar image.

This type of edit won't work with every image and you will have to adjust the settings for your own image to get a beautiful edit. But it is so fun to create these types of images and I know you will have fun making your own fantasy photography art.

I used a gorgeous image from Enchanted by Leesa (Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) on this tutorial.  Thank you so much Leesa!

CoffeeShop "Firefly Nights" Editing Tutorial:

Before we start you have to have the "Firefly Nights" action installed on your Photoshop/PSE. Also locate the CS Firefly Overlay and CS Mason Jar included in the download.


Open your image and run the "Firefly Nights" action on it.


This is what the image layers will look like when the action finishes running.  I will show you how I edited this image, but you might have to adjust the settings on your own image to get a beautiful effect.


Add Night: There are two Night layers.  For this image I wanted to really darken it, so I kept the "Night" layer pre-set on 100% opacity and turned on the "Night 2" layer and set it to 34% opacity.  You can play around with the opacities or even open up the levels layer and play with the sliders until you love the effect.

Add Light: Next you will want to add light on your portrait.  Both the "Light" and "Light 2" layers have black layer masks, so you will have to paint on them to add light.

I selected a 100% soft white brush and selected the "Light" layer's black mask and clicked on the little girl and instantly she was brightened. See screenshot above. You can add additional light using the "Light 2" layer, but it was not necessary in this edit.

You can also paint on the "Night" layer's mask with a soft black brush to remove some of the night-effect from your portrait, but I didn't find it necessary in this edit.


Add Fireflies: Open up the CS Firefly overlay and drag it on top of your image, under the "Warm it up" layer. Free-transform it to fit.

 
Put the Firefly overlay in Screen blending mode.


If you want to enhance the firefly light, just copy the Firefly overlay layer and adjust the opacity to taste. I set the copied layer to 31% to add a  bit more glow.

You can also adjust the "Warm it up" layer if you don't want the image to be so warm.


Add Mason Jar: If you want to add the mason jar, open up the CS Mason Jar image and drag it on top of your image, just over the Background.


Free-Transform it to fit and lower the opacity a bit so the background shows behind it. I lowered the opacity to 81%. You can also add a bit of gaussian blur if you are adding it to a part of your image with some lens blur.


Adding Firefly Light to Jar: Add a new layer over the mason jar but under "Remove Red Casts". Grab a large soft white brush and click on the mason jar to add light. Then lower the opacity of that layer to taste. I set it at 72%.


Here is my before and after.  I love how this turned out. I would love to see your own firefly edits on my Facebook page!

Download the free CoffeeShop "Firefly Nights" Editing Kit. 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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