Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tutorial: Content Aware

Photos that we take during our travels are always perfect, right? No way, at least not for me! I usually end up with someone in the background, a hand off to the side, or even a bird in the wrong spot. Whatever it is that has marred your photo, you can try to remove it. There are many options in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, such as the Eraser Tool, Spot Healing Tool, and the Clone Tool. Photoshop CS5 or Photoshop Elements 9 and up offer a cool new feature to remove unwanted "pieces" of your photo: Content Aware. Content Aware is a function that, while not perfect, can really improve your photos with a little tweaking and patience. This single feature allows you to edit your photos without the visual signs that the edits were completed. Give it a try on a simple removal in one of your photos and you might surprise yourself!

Step 1: Open your photo in Photoshop, and be sure to save it as a new document. Here is my son, Shayne, climbing up the slide. You can see his little brother, Colin, in the background in blue.

Step 2: Choose the Lasso Tool and click around the item that you will be removing from your picture. Here is a close up of Colin and what I plan to remove from my photo. I stayed relatively close to the edge so I don't remove other parts of the photo that I want to stay.

Step 3: Choose Edit in the toolbar, and then click on Fill.

Step 4: A menu will pop up before you can continue. Within this menu, click on the drop down arrow under "Contents:" and "Use:" and choose Content-Aware. Click Ok.

Step 5: Here is a close up of the Content Aware fill that the software generated. Not too bad at all! Since I have played around with the Content Aware feature, I have found that sometimes there is a need to complete the fills by making a new selection and using the tool again (or maybe a few more times).

Step 6: Since I still have a jagged edge on the green slide, I will run a Content Aware Fill again by following the same steps as I did previously. If you need to complete a second round of the fill, you will press Control-D to deselect the area. Then begin again at Step 2 with the Lasso Tool. Here is my second go round of a Content Aware fill with the image from Step 5. 

Step 7: I like my image, but I am one who likes smooth edges and a continuous look. I decided to try using the Content Aware one last time. Here are my final results, still a little jagged, but after I zoom out, it will look great!

Final Image:

Remember, Content Aware is a feature to help make your photos better; it cannot make them perfect. I showed a picture that used multiple steps to remove the unwanted portion. You have the ability to step back or "undo" what you have filled in, so there isn't a worry about damaging your photo memories. Not all pictures will be difficult; some may be easy. Here are a few before and after photos with easy Content Aware removals.

Before, with a dock piling:

After, dock piling removed:

Before, fence and cell tower:

After, fence and cell tower removed:

There you go!  Hope that helps removing some of those unwanted background items!  I originally wrote this article for the ScrapMatters Quarterly Magazine!

Thanks for visiting!
Jenn (jk703/The Typative Scrapper)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A YUMMY Unsharp Mask Tutorial

Ohhhh Digital Scrapbookers!  Check out this great step for your photo and digital scrapbooking needs!  Hey everyone -- Today, I'm going to show off a really EASY step to help make your photos and scrapbook pages look fantastic.

First things first - save your photo and open a copy in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  You don't want to ruin your photo and by using a copy, the original is there if you need it!  Here is a picture of the Pineapple Salsa that I made one evening this summer!  But sadly, my pinapple salsa looks a little mushy and not too yummy!  So... let's make it look a little better and sharper!

Now, up in the Menu Bar, click on Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask.

Next, the Unsharp Mask sub menu will pop up.  Move the sliders on the  Amount, Radius and Threshold until your preview image looks how you want it to appear!  To see the preview image, make sure that you have the Preview box checked.

Here is my final image.  Looks a little less mushy, and the sharpness helps differentiate between pineapple, onions and the peppers.

This can also be used on your digital scrapbook pages before you save them for the web.  Gives them a little sharpness to them!

Originally created by me for Scrap Orchard - HERE!  

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!
Jenn (jk703)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old How To: Photo Blends

Hi Everyone!!! I found an old tutorial that I had created for Jennifer Fox before she retired that I never posted over here.  So... I thought I'd share it!  

For this tutorial, I had used Jennifer Fox Designs (she has since retired) Just For Fun Grab Bag... when she was selling at 9th and Bloom. 

When writing tutorials, I try to ask the other girlies on the CT what they themselves wanted to learn, and a suggestion was a photo blend.  This type of blend is the one where you will see a photo blended into the background paper!  So here we go.... but remember - there are so many ways to do this little technique!  This is my own take on it, and a pretty simple one too!

First, open a blank document, a plainish background paper to practice on and a copy of a photo.  When I am working on something, I save it with the title Working Copy, this way I know what I am working on, and can title it will all my used products at a final save.  

I've used Jen's Grab Bag - Just For Fun Tinted Krafties for my example. The picture is my son crusing around on a small quad, and not crashing!  :)

Place your background paper, and then the photo on top.  When placing your photo, place it where you would like the main part of the image to remain.  Here is how I placed mine: 

Now... on the Layers Palette, with the photo selected, you can scroll through the different Blend Modes that are available to you in PS or PSE. 

TIP:  To "see" what all the blend modes look like with your picture is to do this:  Choose the layer that will be blended in the Layers palette.  Now, press the Shift key, and use your + and - keys to "scroll" through the different blend modes. How easy and cool is that?!  

I really liked the Luminosity blend mode and I also liked the Linear Burn, and Multiply.  Look at them all though - each picture will have a different effect determined by the background paper you choose as well as the picture itself.  Here is the Luminosity blend mode:

And here is what my Layers Palette looks like - yours should look similar. I also changed the Opacity of my photo so it was a view that I liked. It is at 55%. 

After the photo blend mode is complete, you will now "erase" part of your picture.  Choose the eraser tool, and make sure it is in Brush Mode. You want to have a soft brush, and you can play with the opacity for your erasing.  For my picture, I used an Eraser opacity of  about 65% and my brush was about 500 pixels. 

Next, you will begin to erase your photo.  Go slowly, and first stick to the edges. Gradually go over the harsh square/rectangular edges of your photo.  Move closer into the subject and get as close as you like.  Make it visually appealing to you!  Here is mine:

Guess what!?  That is it!  You thought it was a lot harder, right!?  So did I until I learned how!  But wait... you can do more.... Say you want to mix up the look.  Duplicate your finished blended photo, and then try additional blending modes and opacities!  Here is one that I just plain duplicated the image and put the blend mode on Multiply.

And here is one where I duplicated the blended image, the first layer uses the Luminosity Blend Mode and for the second image, I chose the Color Blend Mode. 

There you have it... and easy way to do a quick blend of a photo into a background paper!  Hope that you liked it!  If you would like to learn a specific technique, just comment here and I be happy to make a tutorial up!  I would get to learn something too!

I wrote and created this tutorial originally for Jennifer Fox Designs, but she has retired since then. I hope it was still fun and an interesting technique. 

Thanks for visiting!  
(jk703/The Typative Scrapper)