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August, 2012

Welcome to my share page. Each month I'll try to bring you an enlightening thought, quote or tip. Questions or feedback is always welcome at: roger@imageinations.com



The following can apply to both Elements and CS unless otherwise noted.

If you want to work with the same image I'm using you can CLICK HERE to download a pdf file. Then save it as a jpeg and open it in Photoshop.

I am starting with this image of the flag that I captured on an overcast day. I would like to isolate the flag so that I can add a different background. The easiest place to start is to select the background and then invert the selection so that just the flag is selected. Choose the QUICK SELECTION TOOL. It is located right below the MAGIC WAND. In Elements it is nested with the SELECTION BRUSH TOOL. Right click and you will see both tools. Drag the tool around the outside edge of the flag and poll. The tool looks for an edge and selects all areas it thinks are the same.

Flag 1

On first pass my selection looked like the screen below with the "marching ants" showing the selection. It did a pretty good job but included the poll with the background. Don't worry: with any selection you always have ways to fine tune. We will use the same tool to add and subtract from the selection. If you just drag the tool again it will add to the selection. If you hold down ALT and drag, it will subtract from the selection. Photoshop "learns" to be pickier about what it calls an edge.

Hold down ALT and drag along the poll to subtract it from the selection. Now let go of ALT and drag in the area between the poll and the flag to add it to the background selection.

Flag 2

By dragging and adding and subtracting from the selection my marching ants now looked like the screen below. This is worlds better but still not 100% selected. Now comes the fun part.

Flag 3

flag imageSwitch over to the SELECTION BRUSH TOOL. (In CS this would be the QUICK MASK TOOL at the bottom of the tool bar). This tool allows you to paint in the selection by hand. Remember you can zoom in to a pixel level and fine tune your selection. Once you have the SELECTION BRUSH TOOL go to the top in your tool options bar and look for the MODE drop down menu. It only contains two things "Selection" and "Mask." Choose MASK.

Flag 5


You will now see something like the screen below. You can "paint" with the Brush Selection Tool to add to the mask or hold down ALT and paint to subtract from the mask. (In CS painting with Black adds to the mask, painting with White subtracts from the mask). Keep in mind that to paint a straight line (like I did with the rope) you just need to click on your starting point, hold down SHIFT, and click on your ending point. My finished mask is shown below. Then go back to the MODE menu and choose SELECTION. Press CRTL+ALT+I or go to SELECT>INVERT to now choose the flag and poll in place of the background. Press CTRL+J to put the selection on its own layer. Find a nice background from the ones you have been carefully saving and drag in to the flag screen.

Flag 6

Here is a finished image. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Happy Photoshopping!

Flag 7




JULIUS SHULMAN: American Architectural Photographer 1910-2009

I recently watched on Netflix the documentary Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (available streaming). He is certainly the father of architectural photography and set the style for what photography of an era would look like. I immediately bought his book A Constructed View: The Architectural Photography of Julius Shulman (available through Shulmnan imageAmazon, among others). The image shown here is one of his most famous: a shot overlooking Los Angeles using a flash to light the inside of the home and a five minute exposure at f-32 to capture the city below. Fascinating stuff. A whole concept of vanishing point. And I always find it fascinating to hear photographers talk about their work and their approach.

"I engage my viewers so their eyes follow the thrust of the lines that echo in my stills. The viewer is carried into the scene to where I want him to stop, look, and feel (sense) the architecture-not the photograph; it reads by subject matter and composition."

"A shadow in a photograph is almost subliminal...(It) echoes the structural elements of the design and reflects or mirrors the structure onto itself, creating a mood,...establishing an element of recall; that is, the embodiment of structure and form becomes established in the mind's eye."

"I always used people in my photographs. It is not just a matter of scale; it is a matter of briging life to a scene."

To see more Julius Shulma images, click here


Hollywood image Hollywood copy

One of the best exercises you can d try in photography is to see if you can duplicate the style, lighting, composition, depth of field, etc. from a photo that you like done by a well known professional. On the left is a photo of Virginia Bruce taken in 1930 by the great studio still photographer George Hurrell. On the right is my model Erin and a pass at duplicating his image. I went for the depth of field that blurred out the background, and lighting that blew out the highlights on her hair and shoulders. The props were stuff I happened to have lying around. When trying to duplicate lighting (in a portrait) always start by looking at the shadow of the nose. Move you lights until it matches up and add enough fill to duplicate the effect of the original.

For information on studio or home lighting consider my book on lighting, signing up for the seminar, or checking on-line tutorials.

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