Fixing a vintage photo

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Here are some tips on how to fix a vintage photo. Let’s see the before and after first…

1)Let’s start by increasing the contrast with Curves.

Go to the Layer Adjustment icon at the bottom of the layer menu.

Select Curves…

Click and drag a control point on the curve to increase the contrast like my example

The Layer Adjustment allows you to go back to make changes even after you leave the menu.

 

2) Smooth out the noise in the photo.

Duplicate the original layer by dragging it down to the new layer icon.

Go to Filter-Blur-Surface Blur. Select a low radius and low threshold.

3) Next we will isolate the “edge” information to preserve the details from the blurred layer.

Duplicate the original layer again.

Go to Filter-Stylize-Find Edges, all the edge that Photoshop detected are in black line

Use Gaussian blur to soften the edges

Increase the contrast of the edges by using a Curve adjustment (use shortcut Ctrl+M/Cmd+M)

Select All (Ctrl+A/Cmd+A) on the Edge layer, copy it (Ctrl+C/Cmd+C).

Turn the Edge layer off, and make the Blured layer active by clicking on the layer.

Go to the bottom of the tool box and find the “Edit in Quick Mask Mode” and activate it.

Now that you are in the Quick Mask Mode, paste what you just copied (Ctrl+V/Cmd+V). In quick mask mode, the blacks are represented by red ink, anything that is red will become selection after you exit quick mask mode.

Exit out of the Quick Mask Mode, the Edge information that we just copy and pasted into the quick mask now becomes an active selection.

With the selection active click on the Add Mask icon on the bottom of the layer menu.

The selection now becomes a mask, anything that is white remains opaque and everything that is black becomes transparent.

You’ve just created a mask using the Find Edge filter.

You can turn the blur layer’s new mask on and off to see the effect of the mask. To turn the mask off, hold “SHIFT” and click on the mask.

4) Let’s refine the mask a bit more.

Click to activate the mask besides the Blur layer.

Bring up the Curve adjustment menu from the Image menu or on your keyboard Ctrl+M/Cmd+M and drag the curve to darken the darks.

Use a brush to paint black over any part that is not sharp enough. Some of the areas to consider is the mouth, nose, eyes and any edges that Photoshop missed in the Edge detection filter.

You can also switch to white paint to paint over any area you want to be opaque.

5) Next we will add some color to the image.

Create a blank layer and turn the Layer Blending mode to Color

Any color you paint on this layer is applied to the layer below it.

Continue coloring it until you are finished.

6) The left side of my photo has a darkened bar, lets adjust it by using Curve adjustment in this area.

Activate the rectangle marquee tool, enter a Feather amount so that the selection is soft.

Go to Layer Adjustment icon and select Curves.

The selection we made earlier automatically becomes the mask, now the Curve will only affect the selected area.

Pull the curve up until the color of this area matches the rest of the photo.

7) Sharpen the photo.

Select the entire canvas, go to Edit and Copy Merge (this will copy ALL visible pixels and not just the pixels on the active layer.) and Paste.

Go to Filter-Sharpen-Unsharpened Mask.

Play with the setting until you get what you like and press ok.

Here is the final image after more tweaking using the same methods mentioned above.

I hope you find this tutorial useful, if you have any questions regarding any of the instruction please feel free to ask.

Please comment below to let me know what you think!

Blend exposures manaully

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You can merge two or more photo of different exposure and blend it together to create a HDR image, in Photoshop there are many ways to achieve this, in this tutorial you will learn how to do that by using the Blend If function in the Layer Style menu.
I will use my overexposed photo as the base layer and place the underexposed photo on top of this. Turn it into a 16 bits/Channel Mode under the Image menu.
Copy and Paste the underexposed layer on top of the overexposed file. DOUBLE CLICK on the underexposed layer (on the layer pallet) to bring up the Layer Style
At the bottom of the dialog box you will see Blend If. This setting lets you blend (by revealing or making certain pixels transparent) with the current layer and the layer below it.
If you drag with “This Layer” black triangle, you will see the darkest area become transparent thus revealing the image below it. Same thing for White triangle, it makes the lightest area transparent. The further you drag the more pixels become transparent.
The opposite happens if you drag the Underlying Layer. When you drag the black triangle, the darkest pixels from the bottom layer starts to become visible or the lightest pixels if you drag the white triangle.
You will notice a harsh transition with no semi transparent, either it is 100% opaque or it is 100% transparent. You can make the transition more gradual by moving only half of the triangle. Hold ALT/option while dragging the triangle moves only half of the triangle. The distance between the two half of the triangle will determined how many levels of transparency you will get. The further apart the smoother the transition.
Now the darkest dark pixels on the underexposed layer become completely transparent revealing the bottom layer. But the brightest area is still opaque covering the bottom layer. You have gotten rid of all over and underexposed area, the only problem is it looks too flat from the lack of contrast.
Let’s fix the contrast by going to the bottom of the Layer pallet and select Curve Adjustment Layer. Create 4 points, the first point is to preserve the shadow detail so it should not move too far off from the original location, the second and third point should create an S curve to increase the overall contrast, and the 4th point will preserve the highlights, so don’t move it too far off the original location.
Let’s sharpen the overall photo and add some glow effect to the image as a bonus.
Select the entire canvas and Copy Merged (it will copy all visible pixel instead of just the active layer) Paste the copied information twice on the very top.
Select one of the pasted layers and go to Filter and High Pass, select a small radius than click ok. User Overlay blending mode on the layer pallet, you will notice that your overall image is sharper, you can decrease the opacity later if it makes the image too fake.
Turn on the other copy merged layer and apply a small amount of Gaussian Blur, enhance the contrast with Curve and lower this Layer’s Opacity down to 30%.
Here are the three layers side by side zoomed in. You will notice the original two either had overexposed light area with no detail or underexposed dark area with no detail. The final blended image shows detail on bot the light and shadow area.

The basics of Selection Tool

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The most basic tool in Photoshop is Selection tool; you will use this to position all your layers and objects.

1 To activate the Selection tool, click on the icon on your toolbar or use shortcut key by pressing the letter V on your keyboard
2 Auto Select allows you to select the layers just by clicking on the canvas.
3 While selecting layers you can also choose individual layers or grouped layers.
Alt/Option + Drag You can duplicate while in the selection tool by Alt/Option and click+drag an item on the canvas. The entire layer will be duplicated.
Ctrl/Command + Click to select You can select a layer by clicking within the canvas by holding Ctrl/Command.
Ctrl/Command + Click and Drag You can select multiple layers by (with the selection tool activated) click+draging a mark within the canvas, every layer within the selection becomes selected.
Click and Drag The simplest operation is dragging a layer around, do that by click+dragging your house with the desired layer selected.
Hold Shift Hold shift while moving with the selection tool to lock horizontal or vertical direction
(arrow keys) on your keyboard The arrow keys on your keyboard can be used to move the layer one pixel at a time.
Shift + (arrow keys) Holding shift while pressing the arrow key can move the layer 10 pixels at a time.
4 Activate the Show Transform Controls to freely distort and rotate the layers. This is similar to using free transform.
Enter After you are done rotating and scaling with the Transform Controls, press enter to reorient the Control.
5 & 6 You can align two or more layer by selecting all the layers you want to align and use the align button. You can align based on horizontal or vertical direction and by the edge and center.
7 & 8 You can distribute/space out three or more layers evenly by selecting all the layers you want to distribute and use the distribute button. You can choose the distribution based on horizontal or vertical direction and by the edge or center.
Rick click menu (Command Click) Right click or Command Click to bring up a Layer selection menu.
(number) shortcut keys Press a number on your keyboard to change the opacity. Pressing 2 on your keyboard changes the opacity to 20% and 7 changes it to 70% and so on.
9 If you have taken consecutive photos such as a panorama landscape, you can select all the photo and Auto-Align it.

Correcting exposure, dynamic & color in Photoshop

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You can do the same thing in many different ways within Photoshop, here is a different approach to changing exposure & color. Lets correct this sunrise scene where the foreground is too dark & the sky is too bright

Fixing a photo with both underexposed and overexposed sections.

Select a Curves adjustment layer (found at the bottom of the layer pallet, black/white circle icon)

Bring up your Histogram pallet as well so you can view both the result (histogram) and your Curve.

Create a S curve so the curve goes above the default diagonal line and the curves also goes under the default line like in my example.

The S Curve attempts to make the dark area brighter (the curve should be above the default line on the left side) and darken the sky (the curve should be below the default line on the right side)

Uncheck “Preview” if you want to compare before and after.

Continue to adjust the photo until the foreground looks brighter and the sky looks darker but not too much where it looks unnatural.

The photo is very dull so let’s add some colors to it, under Channel, go through each color channel and increase and decrease the colors to balance it out.
Select all

Copy Merge (it will copy ALL visible pixels instead of just the current active layer like the regular Copy functions)

Paste, it will create a new layer based on the copied information.

Select Hue/Saturation from Image-Adjustments

Increase the Saturation and adjust the Hue position, don’t worry if the color looks unnatural.

Use burn to deepen any area that is not overly saturated such as the sky.

Set the Blending Layer to Color (on top of the layer pallet, where it says Normal, click on it to see the blending menu)

All the color information is transferred on to the background layer.

Lower the Opacity (on top of the layer pallet) if the color is too saturated.

Brighten the underexposed some more

Add a Curves adjustment layer. (Found at the bottom of the layer pallet)

Pull the curve up until you can see more details on the foreground.

Click on the Mask icon of your Curve adjustment layer (the white box between the layer name and the curve Icon.

Select a large soft edged brush and start painting on the sky (this only work if you have clicked on the Mask icon from the last step)

If you turn the Curve visibility off you will see the differences.

I lowered the color layer some more to unsaturated it some more.

Play around with Hue/Saturation (found in the Image-adjustment menu) some more until you get a color you like.

Here is the final image, please leave comments below if you have any questions or comments! Thanks!!

Creating the universe

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  1. First create a randomized Star Field
    1. Fill the base layer with black, go to filter menu and apply Noise filter
    2. Drag the slider all the way to the end to give it maximum Noise
    3. Blur the noise by going to Filter-Blur-Gaussian blur, set it to .3
    4. Go to Image-Adjustments-Curves and adjust the curve to give the image more black area.
    5. Start a new layer
    6. Fill this layer with Render-Cloud Filter
    7. Your current color should be set to Black and White (at the bottom of your tool pallet on the left, where you select your current color and alternate color)
    8. Use the Overlay setting on the layer blending mode (You can find this option on the top of the Layer pallet, where it says Normal and a down arrow, select Overlay from this menu)
  1. Creating the nebula
    1. Start a new layer, fill it with Cloud filter
    2. Go into Liquefy in the filter menu and distort the cloud with the tools available
    3. When you are satisfied with the result, click ok
    4. Darken parts of the cloud with Burnt tool to minimize the bright spots.
    5. Use soft Eraser to erase any sharp edges
    6. Set the layer blending mode to Screen, this will make the darker area become transparent
    7. Use Curve adjustment layer (You can find adjustment layers at the bottom of the Layer pallet, it is the icon of a half black, half white circle.) Drag the curve to darken the nebula.
    8. Use Free Transform tool (Ctrl+T) to stretch out the nebula if desired
  1. Adding color the Nebula and stars
    1. Set your current color to red and blue, on a new layer go to filter
    2. Apply Cloud filter and you end up with blue and red cloud
    3. Set this layer to Color blending mode (top of the layer pallet where it says Normal and a down arrow).
    4. Refine the brightness with Curve Adjustment Layer (found at the bottom of the layer pallet) right below the colored cloud layer
    5. Drag the curve until you are satisfied with the result.
    6. Create another layer of nebula under the Blue and Red cloud layer.
    7. Set current color back to Black and White
    8. Go to Filter-Render-Difference Cloud, you will get a much more chaotic cloud
    9. Adjust the brightness with a Curve Adjustment (Ctrl+M)
    10. Set this layer to Screen blending layer as well
    11. Use Free Transform tool (Ctrl+T) to stretch this out if you like
    12. Lower the opacity (changing the opacity of the layer on top of the Layer pallet) of either nebula layer if any of it becomes too much
  1. Create a brush so we can paint in brighter stars.
    1. Lets create a “Bright Star” brush, create a new layer and fill it with white
    2. On another new layer draw the shape of a light streaks with a black circle and stretched it out to a thin streak with the help of Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T)
    3. Duplicate this streak and rotate it 90 degree and align both on its center and now you have a cross shaped light streak.
    4. Select both streak layer (Ctrl+Click each layer) and Merge the layers (Ctrl+E)
    5. Double click on this layer to bring out the Layer Style menu, check the Drop Shadow option and adjust the setting so that the streak has soft edges
    6. Use a soft round brush and paint on the center of the star.
    7. Select the entire canvas by pressing Ctrl + A than go to Edit and define brush preset
    8. You just created a brush that shapes like a bright star
    9. You may now delete these two layers as they are only used to create the brush
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  1. Paint the bright star on top of the star field.
    1. Create a new layer, activate brush and select the “Bright Star” brush we just created
    2. go to dynamic menu (use the shortcut F5 if you can’t find the icon)
    3. Set the shape jitter to 100%, scatter to 100% and spacing to about 180%. Adjust the angle to about 50 degree
    4. Start painting and your bright stars will randomly scatter itself on the canvas
    5. Adjust the brush size to get more range of sizes
  1. Creating the planet
    1. On a new layer, use the circle marquee to create a full circle (hold Shift while dragging the Circle Marquee tool)
    2. I use Cloud and Difference Cloud filter to create the texture
    3. With the selection still active apply some motion blur filter,
    4. You will notice the motion blur made the edge semi transparent. Duplicate this layer 2 times and merge it all to eliminate blurred edge. (Ctrl + E to merge selected layers)
    5. Give the planet some rounded perspective by applying Distort – Spherize filter
    6. Give it some color by going into Image – Adjustment – Gradient Map, choose the color combination you want and select ok
    7. Continue adding effects and textures that you desired and merge the layers (Ctrl + E while both planet layers are selected)
    8. Create another layer and apply circular gradient for the shadow of the planet. This should be done with Black and White as your current colors.
    9. Set the layer adjustment to Multiply
    10. Merge both layers again and double click on the newly merged planet layer to bring up the Layer Style
    11. Apply inner and outer glow in the Layer Effect (double click the layer to bring up this menu) to it and you are done
    12. You may deselect the Round Marquee selection (Ctrl+D)
  1. Make the ring around the planet
    1. On a new layer, use circular marquee to draw a perfect circle (hold Shift while dragging the marquee shape)
    2. Fill the circle with solid white, apply noise filter than Radial blur filter
    3. set method to Spin and amount to 100% and press ok
    4. Press Ctrl+F to repeat the radial blur filter a few times until it looks nice and smooth
    5. Bring out the curve adjustment menu by using shortcut Ctrl+M or find it under the Image menu
    6. Drag the curve until you get a strong black to white contrast and hit ok
    7. Hit Ctrl+F again to repeat the radial blur to smooth it out again
    8. With the circular marquee still selected go to Select-Modify-Contract to contract the selection
    9. How much pixels you need depends on your canvas size and your personal taste, so keep trying until you find a number you like.
    10. The selection is now smaller; hit the DELETE button to cut a hole
    11. Now you can deselect (Ctrl+D)
    12. Set this layer blending mode to Screen, it will make all the black area transparent
    13. If you wish to add color to your ring go to Image-Adjustments-Gradient Map and find the color combination that you like. It should be the color of the ring on 1 end and black on the other end.
    14. Give the Ring some perspective. Use the FREE TRANSFORM tool (Ctrl+T) to distort the shape
    15. Hold Ctrl+Alt+Shift and drag one of the top corners “Handles” inward, than drag the top center handle down
    16. Keep shaping it until you find a good perspective ring shape than hit ENTER to finish
    17. Drag the ring to align with the planet and use a SOFT eraser to erase the parts that are behind the planet
    18. If you want your ring to glow, duplicate the ring layer and apply Gaussian blur to it
    19. I am using Curve Adjustment to make the planet a bit darker because it felt too bright
    20. Use the burn tool to darken one side of the ring if you want your planet to cast shadow on the ring
    21. Earlier the Bright Star layers were below the color layer; I brought it up and gave it its own color by using outer glow and setting the glow color to blue.
  1. This is the final result of the project.

How to create bubbles in Photoshop

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This tutorial walks you through the process of designing a bubble in Photoshop.

1 – Create your circle in a new layer, use a colored background instead of pure white or black.

2 – This is what we want to achieve first by using the following layer style modification. Double click on the layer in the layer pallet to bring up the layer style window.

3 – Apply Satin, I use opacity = 37, distance = 30, size = 90 . You should play around it to get your own style.

4 – Apply gradient – while in this window you can click on the canvas (within the circle we just made) to move the starting point of the gradient. Move it to the upper right.

5 – Apply Inner glow – change the color to white, and reduce opacity and increase the size.

6 – In a new layer (click new on the layer pallet) paint two highlight points in 30-50% opacity.

7 – add a hot spot on the top highlight point, delete any paint that is out of the circle.

8 – merge bot the highlight/hotspot layer with the bubble layer, apply a chrome filter on this layer

9 – apply the same chrome effect again to get more chrome feel.

10 – change the layer blending to overlay

11 – you will probably want to lower the opacity of the chrome layer so it’s not too harsh.

12 – I added more inner glow at the end to give it a more translucent feel.

This is what I used the bubbles for, I did some blurring and lowering of opacity to match the ambiance.