Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Sometime we need to tell a stronger visual story than is available with standard color or black and white photographs.

We want something to “jump” off the page in our image and grab the attention of the viewer and hold it.

If you do, I have something for you.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

As a graphic artist and photographer, I employed something that I feel is part of both worlds. It is a technique I learned a few years ago when I would process wedding photographs that I had taken.

I call it “Painting with Color”.

I have used this photography skill many times when I have designed newsletter and websites because it does demand attention from the viewer.

It’s like underling a word in a sentence to make sure the reader does not sail on by. Some images take on a surreal eerie effect that stumps the senses.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

The manipulation is done in Photoshop and is not hard at all.

First you will want to pick a suitable image. Something that will have a sharp contrast going from color to black and white.

 Not all photographs work and some better than others.

As you play with the tools you will get a better feel of what to look for in the way of an image to use.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist
Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

I have made a step-by-step video on YouTube detailing how use this technique on your own photography. Click the link below to view it.

Happy painting.

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

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  1. Open an image in Photoshop. Make sure the “Layer” pallet is open so you can keep an eye on it throughout this whole process. If it’s not open, go to the top > Window > Click layers
  2. You will also want to make sure the “History” pallet is open and can find that in the same place as the layer pallet.
  3. Now the magic begins.
  4. Make a second layer of the image by dragging the first layer into duplicate layer tool located at the bottom of layer pallet. It looks like the paper with fold on it (to the left of the trash can).
  5. You will now be working on the top color image in the layer. That is the image that will be turned into B&W while the bottom image stays color. When you paint that part of the B&W it will give way to the color image below in just that spot only.  
  6. To change the color image on top to B&W, highlight the top image in layer. Go to top > Image > Adjustments > Black & White. Now adjust the B&W using the tool pallet that will show up. Adjust the B&W to the best way that you like it. This is important to make a good B&W because that part of the image that will stay B&W will be most the image.
  7. Now you want to click “add layer mask”. That is also located at the bottom of layer pallet. It looks like an image with a BIG hole in it. This tool will then allow you to paint to the color image below. You will notice a white image will appear next to the B&W on the top layer.
  8. Remember this saying: White reveals, Black conceals. That is what you will want to remember as you move forward.
  9. Now you will want to select the eraser tool in the main tool pallet. If you do not know what that tool is just hover over each tool for a second and a pop up will show which one of the tools are.
  10. When that tool is open, you can the adjust the size of the tool by going to the top and change the brush size. On a Mac computer, the shortcut is the two bracket buttons to the right of the letter P. That is also where you change the mode, opacity and flow. I make the mode: brush and leave the Opacity 100% and Flow 100%.
  11. Remember when I said white reveals and black conceals? To switch back and forth on that tool go back to the main tool pallet and down below you will see two screens with an arrow pointing to both. You will want to make one black and one white. By clicking the double arrow it will switch which one is on top and regulating what the brush is doing.
  12. White will reveal what is on the bottom layer. In this case, it’s the color below. If you made a mistake and painted too much area you can switch to black and it will turn that part back to B&W. Very cool.
  13. Make sure you use the magnifying glass and make the image BIGGER so you can do fine detail. That will give your finished image more believability.
  14. You can leave this image in the layer form when you save it because it will make a Photoshop Document (PSD) file out of it. That way you can go back and work on it some more if you wish. You will also want to make a .JPG so you can share it with others and you can do that by making a “Save As” and clicking .jpg.

 

Painting with Color a Photoshop Technique for Photographers and Graphic Artist

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

I used to work for a ad agency designing ads. One day they asked me if I would design graphics to post on social media.

They were a Christian organization as am I, so they wanted their social media posts to reflect that sentiment.

They gave me full creative license to use Bible scriptures, quotes from different scholars or even great people from the past like Winston Churchill or Mark Twain.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

I would use some of my own photography of wildlife, landscape and some of my family.

Many times, I would use a photo stock agency if I found a great saying and wanted just the right image for it.

The image of the boy and man is my son teaching my grandson how to cut wood.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Putting together text with a great image makes a very powerful message and tells that story in a hurry.

One of the problems I encountered as I began to match text with a photograph was the busyness in the image would keep the text from showing up clearly. It made it hard to read.

I tried several ideas until something dawned on me. The technique was simple.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

It would require using layers in Adobe Illustrator.

You can also use this process in Photoshop, InDesign and just about any other software that has a text tool but I have found Illustrator is the best and fastest for designing ads.

It is an easy program to wrap your head around and very intuitive.

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background
Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Like I said, you need to do this in layers.

The video below will explain a step by step of how to do this very cool technique.

 

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Step by step to Making Text Stand Out … J.T’s recipe

  1. In Illustrator, create palette/workspace
  2. Position image onto workspace (changing opacity helps in seeing workspace under image)
  3. Select Text Tool.  Create a text space, off from the image workspace.  (I’m calling this the text ‘fill,’ or ‘fill layer.’)
  4. Import and arrange text.  Choose font and sizes.  Position onto image for best appearance.
  5. (Now here comes THE Technique! ) …
  6. COPY the arranged text, and slide down that text box off the image workspace, thus creating another layer. On a Mac you can press the option button while dragging and will make a new copy. 
  7. Change the color of this layer to the envisioned border color that works well w/ the rest of the image.  (I’m calling this the text ‘border,’ or ‘border layer.’)
  8. Go to Layers Dialog – should see at least 3 layers: base image, 1st layer (fill), 2nd text layer (border); which would of course be the most recent.  Reverse the text layers, so border is now layer 2, and fill is layer 3. (Remember, Ps and Ai build from bottom-up, and border layer has to be underneath the text fill layer. Reversing the layers is how to accomplish this)
  9. Enlarge the font size of layer 2, the border layer. Using the stroke toolbar, increase the stroke size of layer 2.
  10. When satisfied with text and border appearance, combine the two text layers by scrolling a new bounding box around them both, go to the OBJECT drop-down, and select ‘Group.’
  11. SAVE as an .Ai file in the GFX folder of my choice,
  12. Then EXPORT AS  (be sure to choose art boards box) … type of end-use format I need. If it is to be made as a JPG make sure you select RGB and not CYMK. RGB is for internet usage where CMYK is for printing. If you try and put a CMYK on the internet be it for social media or a website, the colors will come out crazy. I make a high resolution (240dpi) first just in case I want to print it out and then make a second copy at 72dpi for the internet.

 

Sometimes Text Needs Help Standing Out on A Busy Background

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want To Read Them

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want To Read Them

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them

Hard to believe?

It all depends on who is designing them.

Yes, I know it must have all the important numbers to give stock holders and the public a sense of the health of the company or organization but, does it have to be so dry?

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them
Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them

I take no greater challenge than to take something that is made year after year and make it stand out.

Creative layout, graphics and photography will do just that.

I like to do a lot of research on a company to find out what will best present them in the best light possible.

I follow their brand as far as colors, logo, text usage and many other special things that says who they are but what else can I design that has not been done before?

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them
Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them

The Salvation Army Annual Report was something of a challenge.

Red was the dominant color for them but it does not take much of the color before it becomes over powering.

Red does that!

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them
Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them

I used some color photographs but I also used black and white and then added some images that had been colorized.

What is colorized you may ask?

It is a Photoshop technique where you turn a color image into black and white and then paint back just a few places in the B&W and return it to its original color. It makes the image stand out.

Some images I turned into sepia tone to tell a different story.

Other techniques were used on the layout itself to make the report more appealing and enjoyable to read.

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them
Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them

In the end, the annual report gave the needed information but it was also eye catching to were someone might just want to pick it up and flip through it.

If that is what happened, then I succeeded in having it stand out.

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them
Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them

Creative Annual Reports Make People Want to Read Them

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black And White Images

I learned photography by taking nothing but black and white images.

My junior year of high school back in Waukegan, Illinois in 1969, I enrolled in a photography course.

It changed my life.

I have never been the same since.

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

Four of my Grandchildren.

I learned to shoot, develop film and print in B&W. I learned to navigate a darkroom from top to bottom.

I picked up some amazing techniques.

Getting so close the process helped me to understand the language of photography inside out.

Sometime later, I graduated to shooting color. I shot a lot of transparency images on slide film for myself and  I shot color negative film for wedding and portraits.

But, my heart always longed for B&W.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images
How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

I remember a professional photographer once asked me if I knew how you could tell a good image from a great image?

He said, if you striped all the color out it would then give you an idea what was essential. Color tends to hide the emotion and the sheer story telling ability of a image. The elements are left on their own to speak for themselves

B&W has a way of explaining things in stark terms with nothing to hide behind.

I have always viewed things from my view finder on my camera in Black and White terms. That was how I started in school and have continued to process things in my mind’s eye for the rest of my life.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images
How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

I love sepia tone images as well as B&W. 

Going digital has been amazing. I have brought some of those old black and white techniques into a new platform.

It’s not simply striping the color out when you desaturate an image but something far more creative from the days of film.

How can I make certain elements “POP” within that black and white digital image?

Photoshop. Thats how!

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

Photoshop control and tool panel.

If you would like to see a short step-by-step process and the Photoshop tools that I use to bring back the old film days, go to my how-to video below.

 

How To Turn Color Photographs Into Beautiful Black and White Images

 

Just How Big is WordPress Exactly?

Just How Big is WordPress Exactly?

Just How Big is WordPress Exactly?

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I design websites on WordPress. It is an amazing program from top to bottom. The theme you use on it is also very important and can make or brake you as a website designer. At this point in time I would use nothing else for myself and my clients. 

The following is an article from Tom Ewer for Elegant Themes.

WordPress is aiming for 50% market share, in Matt Mullenweg’s own words from an interview with Kitchen Sink WordPress:

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The next goal is the majority of websites. We want to get to 50%+ and there’s a lot of work between now and then. As the percentage increases, it gets harder and harder to grow the market share, and we have to grow the market share by doing things we haven’t done in the past – really thinking about the onboarding process, really thinking about the integration with social networks, and with how WordPress works on touch devices, which is going to be the predominant computing platform of the future. These things are going to be really important.

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What got us here isn’t going to get us there. Once we get to 50%, we can decide something new we want to do.”

Right now, WordPress claims a 24% share. We decided to dig through the statistics to try and find out a bit more about where they come from, what they really mean and how WordPress may need to adapt to hit its target – and if such a seemingly ambitious target is reasonable.

Of course, one must bear in mind the scale of the web: 24% market share is huge. As I began writing this post, WordPress 4.2 (the latest version) had been downloaded 48,258,660 times. In just the time until I finished it, that figure had risen to 48,282,215 (23.5k downloads).

So, now, the results of my research – beginning with what exactly makes up that 24% figure and what it means for WordPress.

24%: Says Who?

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The figure of 24% (or 24.2%, more precisely) comes from W3Techs’ analysis. Of the websites they monitor, a quarter of all of them use WordPress CMS.

Obviously, not all websites use a CMS – in fact, 58.6% of the websites W3Techs analyzed aren’t using a CMS that they monitor for. There is a caveat here – they may not be able to detect it if the website has hidden it or if the CMS is especially obscure or bespoke. Since that’s not the case for most websites, the figure provided by W3Techs can by-and-large be taken as representative.

Out of the remaining 41.3% that do use a content management system, the figure of 58.6% (entirely coincidentally) resurfaces. So, in terms of market share among websites that already use a CMS, WordPress has already surpassed the halfway mark.

That becomes the case even more if you consider each separate WordPress.com website as an installation, which W3Techs largely don’t – they’ll only count a WordPress.com website as a separate WordPress website if it has its own URL, rather than a *.wordpress.com one.

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Considering the next most popular CMS by W3Techs’ metrics makes the statistics for WordPress yet more impressive.

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While not insignificant, Joomla’s 2.8% of the web (as opposed to WordPress at 24.2%) rather pales in comparison – and while WordPress’ use is booming, Joomla’s is declining.

In this light, WordPress’ (and also Automattic’s) influence over such huge portions of the web – particularly the sections that publish – is extensive to say the least.

The figures W3Techs has compiled are, naturally, not a complete reflection of the web. Even Google can’t know about every single website out there (as hard as it might try). W3Techs actually looks only at the top ten million Alexa-ranked websites on the web. That’s likely to discount quite a lot of WordPress-powered blogs (even active ones) and other websites, so while being a measure obviously designed to make statistical analysis practical, there’s no guarantee that it’s a representative sample of the web. Nevertheless, it does give the best reflection we can really hope to get.

Who Is (And Isn’t) Using WordPress?

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As noted, the statistics we’re using are potentially not a completely representative sample, but within that sample, WordPress is by far the most used CMS platform. Although Drupal sites tend to have more traffic, WordPress is in line with most other CMS platforms on that front.

WordPress lags behind Drupal in high-traffic sites, though one could hypothesize that there could be a lot of high-traffic WordPress sites whose averages are pulled down by the sheer number of lower-traffic sites. However, as I discovered when I looked individually at the top 250 Alexa sites, only six used WordPress and only two of those used WordPress to power the whole website – those two, incidentally, were WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

If you would like to read the rest of this article click here: How Big Is WordPress?

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Just How Big is WordPress Exactly?