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  • More Fun With Photoshop

    December 19, 2009

    As I mentioned in a previous post, last Sunday our church held its Chritmas gathering and one of the big draws was a visit from Santa and the Mrs.

    As you can see below, they had a lovely winter vignette set up with a sleigh and trees and gifts and all that festive good stuff. They also had a real photographer.  But that didn’t stop me from standing off to the side and capturing the cruddy photo you see below.

    But!  As always, my trusty Photoshop came to the rescue!


    Basically this photo stinks. I’m too far away, the lighting is awful. There is a hideous shadow and the flash reveals the folds and wrinkles in the night sky, not to mention part of the lobby.  And? It’s blurry.

    I do however like the way Mr. and Mrs. Claus are looking at Sean and I like Sean’s expression, so I cropped it close. Cropping is the number one way to make a cruddy photo into one you want to keep.


    After I cropped it close, I still didn’t like the background, so I used my Topaz Remask filter and cut it out.  Topaz Remask is awesome and makes masking and cutting out the background super easy.  If you like to mess with your pictures at all in Photoshop, I  also recommend Topaz Adjust for some very cool effects with just a click or two.


    Anyway, after I cut out the blue background, I played with some patterns.  I liked this red one a lot, which was a free download from somewhere, and I replaced the crinkly blue sky with this red damask.

    Then I put another layer of the red damask on top of the picture, only this time I enlarged the scale of the pattern.

    Next, I used the eraser tool to reveal Sean and Santa and Mrs. Claus.  In art school they call that a subtractive technique. But you can just call it erasing.

    When using the eraser tool, I used a large soft-edged circle brush at about 50% transparency which left the edges partially transparent and I like that effect.


    Here is another version of the same technique only this time, I used a green background with retro stars and then on top of that I used a plaid pattern.

    Have a merry weekend y’all! Go out and take some pictures!


    1. Beck says:

      Having a graphic designer for a husband means that I am SO lazy about learning about all of the various tools in Photoshop, even though I’m the only one who deals with pictures. Hmm.

      December 19th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    2. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

      Thanks for the tips. I’m terrible with Photoshop.~~Dee

      December 19th, 2009 at 11:18 am

    3. gretchen from lifenut says:

      So cute! You are talented and creative.

      I have Photoshop. My #1 use for it? To resize photos. Lame-o!

      December 19th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    4. MarathonMom says:

      very impressive!!!

      December 19th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    5. Sheila says:

      Just too cool! I especially love the red one!!! Guess I’m going to have to break down & learn to “Photoshop”. Merry Christmas!!!

      December 19th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    6. Kay says:

      So cute! But I would expect nothing less from you…you have a great eye for everything! : )

      December 19th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    7. momof8 says:

      Love it! Thanks for sharing!

      December 19th, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    8. Scarlett says:

      I’m a graphic designer but my boss isn’t interested in giving me anything but the basics (Ind-design, Photoshop, Illustrator) but the Remask is only $69!!!!! I can spring for that myself!!! I have to use the pen tool for making silos right now. 🙁 Thanks so much for the tip!!!

      * * *
      If you are a member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) you can get a discount on Topaz products (and lots of other cool products) and also if you sign up for the Topaz newsletters, they occassionally send out sale notices, so it’s well worth it.

      December 19th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    9. edj says:

      My goodness that boy of yours is growing like a weed! 🙂

      December 19th, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    10. Lynn says:

      I like the red one and I love the cowboy boots. Brought back memories.

      My oldest (28) had boots when he was five and he wore them everywhere. Even to Disney when it was about 100 degrees.

      December 19th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    11. Kathy Vaughan says:

      I look at your photos (not just here, but on other posts as well) and envy your ability. Then, I note the comment about art school. Oh, yeah, that’s it – not that you WENT to art school, but that you actually ARE an artist. I will putz around with photo shop, and may even learn to do some of the things you describe, but you, AM, are an artist, and it will always show. Love your pictures! Thanks for the tips. I need all the help I can get!

      December 21st, 2009 at 12:16 am

    12. Hillary @ The Other Mama says:

      Super impressed!

      December 21st, 2009 at 11:27 am

    13. deb says:

      So fun! Thanks for the step-by-step!

      December 22nd, 2009 at 10:55 am

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