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Morning Sun

Southern Gent

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Practicing a few new techniques in PS, everything from delicate hair selections, to tilt shift blur, to fur painting. Lots of mistakes, but it was fun.
Sadie20190312_0695-Edit.jpg
 

Taboo

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Interesting effect. Looks like the original would be a very nice pic.
 

DonS

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What are those techniques? This is the section to explain what you have done.
 

Southern Gent

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What are those techniques? This is the section to explain what you have done.
It would take a very long post to explain everything used, but I'll post detailed instructions on some of the more interesting techniques later today.
 

Southern Gent

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Okay per @DonS request I'll discuss some of the techniques I played with in this. The first part deals with the background.
  1. First off you need to do your basic image editing tasks, to get the image close in the general range of of colors, exposure etc..
  2. Hit Crtl J (Cmd on Mac) to duplicate background layer
  3. Next you need to make a selection from the background. In this case ter, bSadie Mae. I won't go into a lot of detail on selection because selection is a basic editing function, if you don't know how to do it, then you'll need to practice on this first. This needs to be a fairly decent selection so take your time in "select & mask".
  4. Once you have a selection that you're happy with then output to selection, and hit ok.
  5. Go to background layer that holds your selection. Hit Crtl C (Cmd mac) to copy the selection, Hit Crtl V (Cmd mac) to paste a new layer to your stack. In this case it's just Sadie Mae. This gives me a separate layer of just her that I can now modify/edit without affecting the background. Turn off view of this layer
  6. Go back to layer with selection, then go to Selection>Modify>Expand. Set the pixel to 10, don't check expand at border and hit okay.
  7. Make sure the Background layer with selection is active. Go to Edit>Content Aware Fil>Sample area - Auto>output - current layer>Apply>Ok. You now have a background layer, separate and apart from the subject (Sadie).
  8. Now click on selection layer of subject and make it visible.
  9. Go back to background layer, click to make it active. Go to Filter>Blur Gallery>tilt shift. Adjust the circle up down in relation to subject, in this case it was just about the feet. Adjust the horizontal lines to position the blur about where you want it. Set the Blur and Distortion to taste, Click Okay.
  10. Now adjust image using levels, curves, hue, color balance .....whatever you would normally use. clipping and grouping the editing adjustment layers so it only affects the background layer.
Sorry have to run will post more later but this pretty much covers the background layer.
 

Southern Gent

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Don't like jumping ahead in the process but if you don't already have a fairly large collection of Hair Brushes like I do, then you'll either need to download some. There's several free ones out there, or you'll need to build some custom brushes (I have a combination of both). Here's a good video to start you on the process of custom brushes. Toward the end of the video it describes how you use them, which I'll discuss next. FYI hair brushes aren't just for animals, I've used them many times in portraits where for whatever reason the subjects hair just didn't look right.
 

Southern Gent

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Okay now on to the subject layer:
  1. Click the eyeball to make the subject layer visible.
  2. Now start adding your adjustment layers above, clipping them to the subject so they only affect the subject layer. How many you need is dependent on the image, there is no set amount. The idea is you're working with separate elements so any change you make here won't affect your background layer and vice versa.
  3. When you have your subject adjusted as you like, then add a blank layer and clip it.
  4. Now go ahead and select all the subject layers and group them. Makes it the layer stack easier to work with.
  5. Open the group and click on the blank layer you just created in #3
  6. Now is when you start painting with your hair brushes you downloaded or created.
  7. Hit "b" on your keyboard and select your brush. As you work over the subject use "i" to open the eye dropper and sample color in your image, then "b" to go to brush. Carefully work out the edges of your subject to blend and ease the edge. The video above at the end will give you a good idea of how it's done.
  8. On the interior of the subject I use a simple hair brush with only 4 strands, I prefer the more targeted ability of less strands, but you can use one with how ever many you want. Using the same "i" "b" shortcuts and altering the size of the brush I work my way over the subject straightening, and adding detail/depth to the fur.
 

Southern Gent

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Footnote on working subject and background separately. I do my dodging and burning on separate layers set "soft light", fill with 50% gray, and I do this separately in the background and the subject group.

When you're satisfied with everything it's always a wise idea to add a levels adjustment layer at the top of the stack to set your white, mid tones, and blacks.

Now hit Crtl, Shift, Alt, e to clone stamp a layer with all adjustments. Convert this layer to a smart object. Go to filters>Other>High Pass. Set
radius to taste, but probably something in the 3 to 4 range (having the layer as a smart object lets you go back and adjust). click ok. Change blend mode on the layer to Soft Light, and adjust opacity of the layer as required. This is a sharpening layer that is easy to overdo, so take it easy.

Last step, add a curves layer at the top. Pull the top right corner down to overall darken the image (don't worry you can changed it). Now add white mask. Take a black brush and with the white mask active start dabbing in spots to reveal light, adjusting brush size as needed. I call it cookie cutter lighting. Now you can go back and adjust your curve point up or down to adjust the effect or adjust the opacity.

And that's pretty much it, this was primarily a practice for me, and has a lot of issues that wouldn't be in a final. if anyone has any questions, fire away.
 
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DonS

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Thanks for the very detailed description. I was not expecting so much. I like the bit about hair brushes, of course having a wife and two daughters, but not much hair myself, I think of actual hair brushes found in random places around the house :)
 

Southern Gent

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Thanks for the very detailed description. I was not expecting so much. I like the bit about hair brushes, of course having a wife and two daughters, but not much hair myself, I think of actual hair brushes found in random places around the house :)
The greatest feature of Ps is the flexibility of multiple ways to edit an image. Choosing the right methods for the image at hand is probably the most difficult step.

Hair brushes, both real and virtual are what take an image to the next level. Despite doing my best to pay attention to details prior to snapping the shutter, invariably hair fails to cooperate. Even with the more advanced features of select and mask, edges sometimes appear unnaturally sharp. Tools like custom brushes, and the Smudge tool, can help ease that transition.
 
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