Photoshop Madness
The Design Center, DT&G, Photoshop Tips & Tricks: Photoshop Madness  

Photoshop free plug-ins to panoramas

... and more!
          It's a jungle out there...

OMG... Photoshoppers coming out of the woodwork! (Actually, Adobe doesn't want us to use the term "photoshoppers" so, I take that back.) Out of 600 Photoshop inquiries this month we helped about 40 directly with email solutions for their questions, and sad to say we were unable to get to the rest. If you still have a nagging PSD question go ahead and send it in, we'll do our darn best to help you out. Remember, you can also always get help from peers at the Photoshop 911 Emergency room

Keep watching this column, because sometime this summer, it's going to turn into its own blog here within the Graphic Design Center. We're really looking forward to it, because then you'll be able to comment directly to each madness we find!


I'd like to send you one of my favorite Photoshop books. But you know, it costs as much as four bucks to send a book anywhere in the continental U.S. (Sorry, no international shipping!) So, you should do something to deserve a new, free, top-selling Photoshop book, shouldn't you? Sure.

So, send in your article about a favorite "Photoshop Madness" sighting you have found -- include a graphic, and 100 words or more about the sighting, along with your mailing address, and in a few days, you'll get a brand new Photoshop book. Okay?
CLICK Make the initial contact and get going!

And now... Photoshop Madness ...

Effects on Live Music Photos?

Photoshop Madness reader "Baffled" wrote in with this letter:

Hey, I've been an avid photographer of live bands for quite some time, but one effect I've never been able to get (or find out how to do) is a desaturation (I think?), where most of the color is dropped into near greyscale, but some is left. In addition, I can't seem to find if there's any post-production on this image. I'm hoping some of you can help! If any of you have cool effects or tricks to get great shots looking better I'm all ears!

high gain photos from performances
Baffled supplied these three samples as examples: ex 1, ex 2, and ex 3,

Dear Baffled: In order for these techniques to succeed, the photos have to be just right. Example 2 and 3 are very high contrast to begin with, shot under extreme conditions. They needed very little retouching to achieve the effect. Example #1 has very little color to speak of beyond the sepia effect, so you'd be safe setting it up as a sepia print. For that, you can see this
CLICK Sepia Tutorial, and for reference, this later
CLICK tutorial for Photoshop Elements.
The other two are a bit different. They've been "high toned" primarily using Photoshop's Histogram and Levels tools. So to accomplish the deed, you can experiment with the utilization of these tools in Photoshop. We'll refer you to this excerpt from Adobe Photoshop CS4 Studio Techniques, where Dan Ablan explains how to interpret and work with
CLICK The Histogram panel in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

Using Split Toning

Baffled may also want to try the split toning plug-in we found over at Deviant Art.

wonderful split toning plug-in for Photoshop

If you arent satisfied with the result play around with the settings of the adjustment layers (especially the Channel Mixer)
CLICK Download it: Split_toning_by_paranoidstock.atn
The weird way these Deviant Art people fill out the automated posting form, we really have no idea who created this -- there are several attributes, but at least someone called "Yellow Stock" wrote credit me, while someone called "paraniodstock" actually posted the action.

Common problems... and lot's of'em

This month as in every month there are always dozens of people who ask the same common questions. Never think that your problem is unique ... if you had the problem, then many people had the same problem! Most often, unless they are graphics or effects, they'll be corrections for common shooting problems.

Layer blending set to screen blending mode

Sometimes an overly dark photo, like this lovely harbor shot late in the last dying hour of daylight, can be remedied as easily as with a duplicate layer set to the SCREEN blending mode.

This along with several other problems in the mail bag this month are easily explained and remedied utilizing Blend Modes -- and who better to tell you about them than photographer Matt Kloskowski from one of our favorite Photoshop books, Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool. Matt says:

What I really like about blend modes is the fact that they don't change the actual pixels in your image. They just change the way things appear onscreen. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to fix some common problems found in digital photos... Using Photoshop blending modes

Retouching and Airbrushing Skin

Lots of new visitors and readers to DTG and the Graphic Design Center do not remember the article on beauty retouching and skin enhancement. It's a fairly easy technique that you can complicate as much as you like for more and more detail.

retouching skin and flesh tones, smoothing and airbrushing

Beauty retouching is one of the most demanding parts of photo manipulation. There are a couple of different methods and only few tricks. The main trick for your results to be astonishing is patience. With time you'll get faster, but this is not five-minute job even for professionals. There are no silver bullets.
CLICK Beauty retouching in Photoshop

Actions to the rescue: Although real professionalism takes hours and hours and days and weeks of practice, and years of experience -- amateurs can get relatively acceptable results with some of the newer downloadable plug-ins for Photoshop. Here are just a few...
CLICK Free Adobe Photoshop Action Soften skin effect -- Softens skin a produces a natural 'clean' appearance whilst retaining important skin textures. Download:, web site.
CLICK Airbrush portrait action by Shannon Beauford, that allows the user to remove blemishes without losing skin texture. Download:
CLICK Photoshop Facelift Action set by Shannon Beauford, consisting of six actions designed to take years off a subject's face. Download:

coverThe Power of Layers

Seriously folks, Photoshop's Layers is truly its most powerful feature. You really need to dig in and learn everything there is to know about layers. I truly believe in this book -- and believe that everyone who uses Photoshop should get it. It will open your eyes to serious working with and managing multiple layers, blending layers together, exploiting 25+ Blend Modes, Layer Masking and just how easy it is, and all of the tips and tricks that make using layers a breeze. If you want to finally understand layers in Photoshop, I say get this book, and get it NOW.
CLICK Layers: The Complete Guide to Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool

Photoshop madness

Thanks for joining us for another edition of Photoshop Madness -- where we cover the latest and greatest and weirdest off-the-wall Photoshop stuff to waste more and more of your time! But it's really fun, so stay tuned for our next issue...

What's in YOUR Photoshop Portfolio?
      Of course we invite your close encounters with Photoshop Madness... just tell us a little bit about the encounter and we'll take it from there. DTG readers love to hear your experiences! Also, don't forget to drop in on the Photoshop 911 Forums to help out all those readers who have Photoshop Emergencies!

Ask questions and discuss this in the Forums

We're here for you, so join the fun... and remember everyone loves Photoshop Madness

What did you miss last month?

Thanks for reading...

Fred Showker
Editor / Publisher, DT&G Magazine

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