23 January, 2015

Making of Aimless Wanderer & creating a MATTE look

today I wanted to show you a technique that helps to enhance the moodiness of a image. With the help of Lightroom's gradient tool or/and Photoshop's curves tool you can clip the shadows to achieve a matte effect.

Images that were treated this way also work well with textures.

Please move mouse over the picture for a Before/After look!


Working in Lightroom

After the playing around for a while the gradient curve looked somehow weird, but the the shadows looked faded & pale:

The important part you can see on the bottom left. I dragged the curve up, thus making the dark parts paler. I also used the sliders as you can see in the second screenshot to get the mood I wanted.

Here is a Before/ After view of the processed image:

The shadows in the right part of the picture are lighter & more pale/matte. It also seems to add more fog/haze to the overall image.

Working in Photoshop

Apart from some manipulations I wanted to show how I further texturized the picture as well as added even more mood by using a color gradient and the curves tool.

I only used subtle textures, Baltic Sands from the Vintage-Film-Photography-Pack and

Both have a frame and are based on old tintype / glass plates.

The impression of the colorful rising sun was achieved by using a color gradient. 

You'll find a bunch of my gradients over here: 30-fine-art-retro-color-PS-gradients
The one I used is part of this collection.

The textures and the gradient led to darker tones and stronger contrasts and made it necessary to once again work on the matte effect.

The technique is the same as in Lightroom - you simply drag the curve up a bit and the shadows become paler...

Thanks again for your interest and be creative!!!

Have a nice weekend!

31 December, 2014

12 from 2014

Hi there,

this is only a short look back on some pics I produced in 2014.

Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful and creative 2015!!!

All pics processed with my textures (or others ;-) some on iPhone, some with PS on my iMac.

Check out my textures here: TEXTURE PACKS

See you in 2015!
Thanks, Dirk

18 December, 2014

Carry On - Evolution of a Picture

today I wanted to present a picture that I really liked from the beginning, but that I had great difficulties to process. I took several attempts on several levels of the processing to achieve the final look and feeling of the picture.

Here is the final result:

Carry On

Recently I love playing around with / processing winter images, I especially love cool blue tones in combination with red or orange leaves. The above picture features less red leaves, but another component that I like: a solitary person passing by. This always adds something mysterious and kind of tells a story.

The Start - Lightroom

I started with this picture -

Carry On raw
As you can see it i nothing too special about this picture, but still I liked the overall atmosphere of this misty dark winter afternoon. I also had the feeling that this might be not so easy, because the many trees and elements would make it hard to focus on the little person.

Next I chose one of the Lightroom presets I made for snowy sceneries and tweaked the result to finally get tones I liked:

Carry On LR
I thought this is something that I could build upon and loaded this into Photoshop and started applying textures, but the results weren't satisfying - I found them to cluttered and without appeal.

Processing in Photoshop

Content Aware Scale
After my vain attempts to texturize this picture I thought I try the Content Aware Scale tool of Photoshop CC and see what would happen with the picture. I extended the canvas size to a square and placed the original picture at the bottom of the canvas. Then I simply dragged the upper end upwards and got this -

I liked the result, though some parts were a bit out of scale but I thought I could live with that.

I was interested in the middle part of the picture, especially the lone walker. I decided to use a PS filter /Lens Blur) to blur the edges left and right of he picture.

Additionally I added a motion blur of 230px. The picture was now pretty blurry, but I had planned to erase parts of it using a clipping mask to bring back some detail. Please see Layers for reference.

The picture now looked like this:

I finally had a picture that I could build upon.

Processing with textures

I chose three textures Friction had some vertical scratches that I liked and helped to darken the blurred edges of the picture to direst the viewers eyes to the middle of the image.
deKonstrukt added some color variety and subtle patterns that I liked and Grotto Azul further enhanced the blue hues.

You'll find the textures here:

Mixed Specialties and here Vintage Film and Photography

Finally I worked a bit on the colors and the contrast and Carry On was ready to be published.

Thanks for reading,

02 December, 2014

Color gradients and textures II

as mentioned before, I often use color gradients in my work. I must admit, that this is somehow inspired by my work for the app Stackables and of course by the possibilities gradients offer to enhance moods and atmospheres in pictures.

I have created a set of 30 color gradients, that I often use in my work and made it available to purchase on Creative Market here:


To demonstrate the effect two of these gradients have please have a look at the following images:

Unprocessed version

Morning Light Bare

Processing One

I wanted the light tones closer to the lawn in front to add a more coherent fell to the image. Please take a look at the Photoshop layers for this picture:

The gradient layer made all the difference in this - additionally I chose two textures to support the the tones of the image and enhance the fog a bit.

Textures are from AUTUMN HAZE PACK

Processing Two

In this I wanted the sky to have a warm orange/red tone that is more associated with a sunrise. Again the basic color mood was created with the help of a gradient. The added textures supported the overall color choice a mood.

Again, please check out the layers from Photoshop:

Textures are from AUTUMN HAZE PACK

I hope that you can get some inspiration out of this. Please search for other examples on my blog

There is still a discount of 25% on all textures using the coupon code BLACK14 on my home page until Dec 6, 2014:

Thanks for reading!

28 November, 2014

Black Friday Sale & 10 new textures with frames


over the next 5 days you can save 25% on my Texture Packs by entering the coupon code


at the check out. This code is only valid until Wednesday, Dec 3, 2014 - so you better hurry while it is valid.

Texture packs & Pick Your Own

I also added 10 new textures with frames that give a wonderful old time style to your pictures not unlikely like the ones in the Vintage Film & Photography Pack.

Scroll to the end of the Build Your Own Texture Pack gallery to find them

Have a nice weekend!


16 October, 2014

Pick Your Own ARTISTIC Pack - 16 new painterly textures added

I have just added 16 new textures to the Build Your Your Own texture pack !!!

These were created over the last months some of them to be used in the app Stackables, that I am contributing textures, gradients and filters to.

The build your own gallery now features over 150 textures to chose from!

Prices are
10 textures for 7.90 € / 11 US$
20 textures for 14,90 € / 19 US$
30 textures for 19,90 € / 27 US$
40 textures for 24,90 € /33 US$

I processed the following picture with two of the new textures:

Fall 2014 discount
Remember there is currently a 15% discount on all texture packs. All you have to do is to enter the coupon code


at the checkout to benefit from it!

Thanks very much,

10 October, 2014

Fall Frame - softly textured Vertorama / Fall Promo

it is that time of the year again that I really love to capture.
I still have to wait for the right weather over here, but the forecast is very promising for the next days, so I better get my gear ready...

Going through my shots from last fall, my eyes fell on two shot. First I didn't realized that they had a lot of potential. These were ideal candidates for a moody and misty autumn vertorama.

A vertorama is a vertical panorama of two or more shots merged together in Photoshop or any other suitable software.  Have a closer look at this technique here:

First I'd like to show you the result of my work:
Please move over the picture to see the before/after


Preparing the files

I started out with two photos that I had to capture with different settings. 
I knew that I wanted to blend these two, but the problem was the dark foreground and the very bright sky with the sun about to come through the mist.

That meant I had to process them differently - I started with the bottom pic:

It was shot at 1/125 s Iso 200 and f 10

Apart from the tones I enhanced the foreground with a gradient filter and played around with the curves layer to get as much detail as possible without losing the misty softness. 

When I was satisfied it looked like that:

One can copy the processing of a picture and apply it on another shot in Lightroom, that's what I did with this, although I was sure that it wouldn't be perfect and that I had to correct at least the exposure.

The raw file looked like that:

It was shot at 1/400 s Iso 200 and f 10

I applied the settings of the first picture and had only adjust the light hoping that my corrections would be perfect for the merging.  I checked the histogram while doing the adjustments, but it only took a bit of playing around with the exposure setting to achieve a picture suitable for merging.

I skip the merging of the two pictures, because I covered this in a previous post that you can check out using the link I  posted at the beginning.


My goal was to keep as much of the atmosphere and tones as possible or even enhance the whole picture a bit by my choice of textures

Please take a look at the layers:

It took quite some time to find textures that added something interesting to this - Rose Mist was perfect, because it added a rough red frame to the sky - a perfect addition to the red bottom of the image. Worn Map brought a bit grunge and light to the dark tree leaves in the upper left corner of the picture. After adding the textures I only had to correct the red tones a bit and I was satisfied with the result.

Thanks for reading!

Fall Promo - save 15% on all texture packs

I am pleased to announce another promotion for the rest of this month.

Enter the coupon code


at the check-out to save 15% on all texture packs !!

Start shopping here: Texture Packs

Have a great weekend!