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Three Pears

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of pears! They’re such photogenic fruit,
I especially love Bosc pears with their elegant long form and stems.
The other day when I was looking a photo to process I came across this one taken a couple of years ago and rejected at the time because it was a little flat looking.
With the additon of textures and some wonderful Nik filters, I think I’ve added drama and depth. I can’t rave enough about the Nik filters, they’re wonderfully versatile and so easy to use and work so well when used with our textures.
Okay the processing…
Catacomb Frieze @ multiply 100% (masked a little off the focus areas)
Pantheon Stone @ Overlay 33% masked as above
Villa Adriana @ overlay 27%
Nik filter Darken lighten centre (from Color Efex pro)
Nik Tonal Contrast (from Color Efex pro)

And it was done!
See it a little bigger on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

empty vessels

Here’s another still life I threw together.
The tall antique glass vase is probably a french apothecary jar and would have had a big cork stopper, its one of a pair that Martine and I bought from an outdoor flea-market, here in the south of France.
The tiny cracked olive oil decanter and stopper I found on our local communal bins and the small vase came with my little French house!

Its no secret we’ve recently been wowed and bowed over by Nik processing, and this is my first HDR Pro Efex and Color Efex Pro 3.0 Nik combo image. We’re often asked how we manage to get brighter pictures after texturing, and often we cant say because we used our photoshop curves and color tweaks.
But now we’ve found this great set of enhancement programs we should be able to fill in more gaps that until now have missing from our past recipe blogs.

In the above before and after version I used two layers of a black and white HDR Nik enhancement, just to beef the contrast as the room was fairly dark. Then I applied several Flypaper layers on top. The final layer I’m happy to say is Sisley, probably the most difficult, yet I find, endlessly adaptable texture we’ve ever made!

If you don’t yet own Nik programs, you can simply click the side buttons for a 2 week trial period, we promise you’ll not regret downloading these easy to use Photoshop plug-in’s!
Also, just for our US based readers, there is a fabulous one-off Nik sale which ends this Friday 15th July – So Hurry!:-D

B/W Nik HDR copy Normal @ 17%
B/W Nik HDR copy Soft Light @ 30%
Opal – Overlay @ 40%
Paysage Linge – Soft Light @ 65%
Sisley – Pin Light @ 9% (flipped vertically and brushed from table top)

The final cleaned-up published version of this image was given a slight treatment of Glamor Glow from Color Efex Pro 3.0 just to soften the hard HDR edges.
See the final, bigger version on Flickr

Spring Painterly Pack
40 Large Textures (38 square and two huge rectangles) for only
$40
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Summer Painterly Pack
36 large textures for only $40
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Complete Flypaper Package
Tex Box 1, Tex box 2, Fly Edges, Summer Painterly & Spring Painterly
$180
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Flypaper Triple Combo Deal
$100 for Tex Box One and Two and the Fly Edges
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Combo Pack Offer
Only $65 for Tex Box One and  Tex Box Two
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Fly Edges Pack
Only $40
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See all our packs and deals on one Page

Jim Zuckerman Nik ebook

Back in the new year we supplied our writer friend Jim Zuckerman with complimentary copies of our textures, updating him with the spring pack as it was launched.
Jim has finally furnished us with a copy of his lavishly illustrated ebook We were delighted to see he has used several fly textures as examples of colour mixing and blending with this superb new Nik Software!
We’ve now tried this Nik program and we absolutely love it!
“But what does it do” – I hear you asking?
Imagine all the Photoshop actions you could ever wish for all in one Photoshop plug-in filter! Its 64 Bits too, so you don’t get that nasty banding you normally get with even the most expensive actions.
We’ll talk loads more about all the fabulous Nik software in upcoming blog postings with our usual before and after mouse-overs, but for now here’s the science bit from our Nik guru!

About the Book
Nik Software makes many essential Photoshop plug-in filters that enhance and embellish your images, and this ebook explains how to get the most out of these tools. Think of this as an idea book.
It is not a how-to manual for each filter in Nik’s programs; rather, Jim explains in his easy-to-understand manner of writing how you can produce remarkably creative imagery using his favorite Nik Software filters. His beautiful examples will inspire you for sure, and with his guidance you will learn to think outside the box in applying these techniques to images that are already in your files waiting to be rediscovered.

To purchase downloads of Jim’s lavishly illustrated ebook simply press any of the blue ebook links in this feature!

Forgetmenot

I was thrilled to find these still in flower in my garden a couple of weeks back, usually I’d have to wait till spring to see them but our winter here in Dunedin has been relatively mild so far, but as the old saying goes “as the days grow longer, the cold grows stronger” and we often find that this is the case.

Sorry, I don’t do long posts  like Paul in his blog posts or rambles as he puts it,  there’s only so much you can write about flowers after all, but I was surprised when I did the  mouse-over of this one how dark the original photo was compared to the finished one.
*notes to self to try this recipe again*

Gelato Ice @ hardlight 36%
Orange Blossom@ softlight 100%
Copy of background @ soft light 100%
Peacock @ screen 53 % masked from the focus areas.

See it on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

Lemon preserve jars

Our supermarket had a stock of large, knobbly photogenic Lemons, which inspired me to use a few in a new still life.
I have no fancy lighting, I just use daylight from a side window with the Mediterranean shutters most people have, mine are both internal and external. I can direct the light by opening one or both part way, but the same can be done with curtains, you don’t need to have shutters!

I shot this in my little kitchen where the walls have their original gloss cream paint, which I expect has faded from its original white!
Before you go thinking “does this guy ever decorate”? I’d answer cheerfully that I’ve purposely left the original retro finish as I had photographic location shooting in mind!;-)

Back to the shoot, its just the fridge top, no need for fancy marble or stone slabs! The refection at first bothered me but in hindsight its added to this simple grouping.
During my scenic artist career in London I had a big scenic paint order to decorate several huge sheets of plywood for a famous British lighting catalogue. The eccentric photographer worked in a windowless WW2 Air raid shelter, his results were stunning, simply by wiring the wall lights through my sheets of scenically painted plywood and reflecting the light back with sheets of grubby white polystyrene, approx 2″ thick. Normally one side would have a coat of Black Matt emulsion, he used this to reflect black or negative light.. I digress, here I used two sheets of Polystyrene from my new LED monitor. No need to buy reflectors and you’ll help save the planet!
I shot bending down to the same low level, no tripod needed but probably would have helped!

The before shot shown has already had a few pale textures but unfortunately I didn’t save half the recipe but will give approximate percentages for the before state.
The original picture was perfectly focused, here I had purposely softened the image with Gaussian blur and painted out the blurred insides of the objects leaving the outside edges slightly blurred.

In the second half of the recipe I used Sisley, our dramatically ugly painted Linen texture in an unusual way, firstly it was desaturated to a dark blue, then It was used with the rarely used, Pin Light mode at just 11% I loved the bottom part but the top wasn’t showing so I flipped it vertically and softly removed the bottom half. A later layer of Creme Anglaise partly obscured this, but all the layers add up to form a kind of heavy impasto final effect.

First half recipe

Lime Wall – Soft Light @ 50% Approx – flipped vertically
Orange Blossom – Soft Light @ 50% Approx
Heather – Soft Light @ 50% Approx

Second half recipe

Sisley – Pin Light @ 11% Desaturated to dark blue
Sisley – Pin Light @ 14% Desaturated to dark blue, flipped vertically, the bottom half removed.
Creme Anglaise – Screen @ 47%
Base image copy – Overly @ 27% totally desaturated to B/W

See bigger or purchase cards and prints on Redbubble

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

Pretty pastels

This is another lensbaby photo, I love the extreme bokeh the lens produces as well as the unpredictability of the results, I also love how well lensbaby shots work with textures.
Okay, the recipe and it was a fairly simple one, only one texture and one of the blending modes was one you’d not expect.

Gelato Ice @ colour burn 100%
Gelato Ice @ Hard light 88% gently removed from the focus areas using a layer masked
Copy of background @ Overlay 64%
Curves layer to tweak tone and contrast
….and it was done!
Gelato Ice is from the Spring Painterly Pack.
See it a little bigger on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

jug and fresh soap

One of my greatest little luxuries is a really hot deep bath!
And then from that bath my favorite view would have to be of freshly scrubbed, bleached pine tops, scented with French hand made lavender soap. So I’m lucky, here in my little French house to have such a bathroom!

The thick pastel coloured oil painting on rough stretched linen behind the Habitat sourced bowl has only just dried after several months and was added for height. The water jug is antique English.
Normally I’d have an antique shaving mirror, but that’s for a future picture! 🙂
The French white painted antique washstand was purchased from Ebay France, I liked the two little underside drawers, where little things can be hidden.

Shot this morning in reflected sunlight, no tripod needed.

Recently we’ve been crazy about Lensbaby pictures, however, they can be a bit hit and miss, so I’ve come across another way of softening images before texturing to get a nice dreamy, hazy effect. Its simple, just use the old Orton effect free action at our friends Coffeeshop before the use of textures!

The before image above has already been desaturated, than a gentle Orton effect applied. The finished image has just two textures from Tex Pack 2.

Lime Plaster
– Soft Light @ 47% – Flipped vertically
Copy of base image Soft Light @ 30%
Lost Void – Screen @ 47% – Flipped vertically.

See it larger on Flickr

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

Cosmos

This comes hot off the press (or camera) so to speak.  Taken a couple of hours ago with my lensbaby while I was out walking. Winter is fast approaching here in New Zealand so I have to make the most of the lovely day we’re having and finding these in flower was an added bonus.
And now that I’ve processed and posted this I’d better get back to tidying my own jungle of a  garden!

Fairly simple processing.
Sakura Skies  @ screen 18%
Pantheon Stone @ soft light 19% masked off the focus flower.
Syrinx @ Overlay 55%
Sakura Skies @ Overlay 100%
Curves layer to tweak tone
All textures are from the Spring Painterly pack.

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

Women under Scaffolding

I’m no stalker, but when I see a great silhouette, and I’m armed with a camera, I will sometimes move just a few tiny paces to try to get a secret shot!

Our narrow medieval streets are perfect for this type of shot, though for the same reason our streets are often too shaded and thus too dark, and don’t even get me started on my pet hate, parked cars! Here I used the trusty Lensbaby once more, lens wide open, at F1; no aperture. It was around 5pm, before the sun wasn’t too low but also not directly overhead.

As we’ve been asked, Ive tried to recreate how I processed, step by step, and why I chose the textures used.

To the base image, to add more definition, I first slightly cross processed it and used a slight vignette darkening the edges. You can do this simply with free photoshop actions

To start with texturing I wanted to add more light. For my recent lensbaby shots I like to use the new Opal texture, here I used it twice, then I wanted to add a more beefy texture and darken the sky, I chose Tempest Sea, flipped vertically.
I loved the painterly/scratchy effect on the blue scaffolding covers brought by this texture, but found the overall blue a little too bright/fruity. So another favorite texture was pulled out, Newt to help tone down, which was okay but still not quite there, so I clicked it off. Finally I tried Swans Way for the first time, as I liked the look of that billowing canvas like movement this texture suggests, and Wow, happy days! It toned down the blue perfectly and pulled it all together and added a dramatic cracked grunge!

It was almost finished but decided there was now just a bit too much street clutter which the textures had highlighted.
So I clone tooled out a red road sign on the right, and a pale board on the left under the scaffolding, both clearly visible on the raw base image.

Opal – Overlay @ 74 % softly brushed from bottom edge and tot of sky
Opal – Overlay @ 100 % softly brushed from bottom edge and all of sky and right building
Tempest Sea – Overlay @ 45% Flipped vertically
Swans Way – Soft Light @ 100%

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.

Girl with teddies

In England I bought a full size double hospital X-ray light box from Ebay, cost me next to nothing, but boy did I get burnt for the extra baggage on the flight home!
So, I’ve been going through the old negatives, and came across this shoot with my niece, proudly showing her party outfit in their garden.
The late spring weather was very soft and thundery and she’s looking up at me, being tall I don’t think I’m standing on anything, but that would be the best way to get this effect yourselves!

The base negative scan has been though the CS5 HDR filter to brighten and slightly smooth the 35mm film grain, Ive also hand spot removed with the spot remover tool.
I scanned at 1200 DPI in Tiff mode, saved in 300 dpi in CS5 and converted this landscape format shot to 4000pixels high, cropping square. Using textures from both the Summer and Spring painterly Flypaper sets;

Pantheon Stone Overlay @ 49%
Creme Anglaise Normal @ 100% brushed from figure
Creme Anglaise Soft Light @ 54%
Brushed Rose Overly @ 100% desaturated and brushed from figure and top left
Iorek Ice Overlay @ 43%
Followed by a final use of curves to tweak tone.

Please visit our Pack page or Combo Pack page to buy Flypaper Textures.
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