Blog

Removing Distractions to Highlight Your Subject

Did you ever finish an image (or think an image was finished anyway) and it just didn't seem to sit right? You look at it and it's almost as if your eye can't decide where to go? Well, if you, the almighty creator, are having this issue, then odds are anyone looking at said image is going to suffer from this problem as well. One of the most important things you can do to an image is to "tidy up." Aka attack your image with the patch tool, clone stamp, and whatever means necessary to get rid of anything that might beckon the attention away from your subject.  

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How I Add Sparkles

First, let's get the tedious part of the process out of the way. For the most part, I hand paint each little particle so they fall exactly where I want them to go. I use Photoshop's default brush with zero percent hardness and click around constantly tapping the bracket buttons (right next to the "P" key - they are quick commands for enlarging and shrinking your brush size). I try to make sure there's a somewhat natural flow to them and not to have all of them too perfectly spaced out. There is definitely an art to particle placement. 

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Using Quick Mask Mode To Enhance Depth of Field

Quick Mask Mode. Guys it's pretty awesome. Does anyone ever use this? If you're sitting there like "IDK, what's a Quick Mask," the answer is, "No, it's not when you use a layer mask as fast as you can." Quick Mask is a tool in Photoshop that lets you more precisely edit your selections. You can activate it by pressing the "Q" key or clicking the little rectangle-with-a-dotted-line-circle-in-it at the bottom of your tools palette. Some of you may already know what it is but hardly ever think to use it for anything. Well I'm here to let you know that it can be incredibly handy if you use it correctly.

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Create a Safety Net

If you're in the gym and trying to lift something heavy, odds are you need a spotter. Even if you fancy yourself to be a big strong macho man (or woman). You may think you can just do it yourself (and maybe you can), but wouldn't it be safer to have an extra set of hands to yank that weight off your chest if you try to bite off more than you can chew? Perhaps you and your silly pride can struggle through it, but odds are you're going to have bad form; the sloppy reps just aren't going to deliver the results you were hoping for. Creating a piece of artwork is no different. Sure, you can do it all by yourself and get something done, but it's always a good idea to find an artwork spotter to have your back.

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How I Get the "Illustrative" Look

I can't tell you how many times I get comments like "Wow this is so cool; it almost looks like a painting!" Not that I'm complaining about that whatsoever; I take it as a compliment. It's one of my goals when creating a work of art - to make something that isn't quite a photo, but isn't quite a painting. "Yes, but how do you make it look like that!?" Well, since you asked I guess I could explain some of the process. Obviously a LOT goes into making my images look the way they do. Fancy studio lighting and a hefty amount of digital painting play large roles, but one technique that really pushes my work towards that sort of hyper-real-digital-illustration-y-type-look is the use of the "Shadows/Highlights" adjustment.

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