23 December, 2012

Seasons Greetings







Picture of a christmas tree on our Christmas market - 
The man doing the handstand is actually a sculpture by Belgian artist Guillaume Bijl

Have a great time & thanks very much for all your support over the past year!!

See you in 2013!

Dirk

17 December, 2012

Gentle Snowfall Overlay Freebie & how to apply it

Last post before Xmas,

over here we had our first taste of snow last week. At the moment it's back to normal, meaning rainy weather and roughly 5°C - 10°C...
I had the chance to take some wonderful winter landscapes in the sun and also shot while it was snowing quite heavily.
Still had no time to process some of these shots....

I thought it is about time for another freebie, so I made a snowfall overlay that is quite easy to use.
It looks like this:


Aus Free textures


Download 

How do I use this? 
Overlays like the one above work best with blending modes like

- Screen
- Lighten
- Color Dodge

In these modes the  color black doesn't have any effect and only the light/white parts show up in your picture. 
Just play around and see what works best with your picture.


Recently I used this overlay on my picture 4 colors of winter. Please move over the picture to see a before/after of this picture.
4 colors in winter
I also used two other textures tht you'll find here: Canvas Sprinkle and here: Cold Steel
Both are are available in my pack of medium sized textures (44 textures for only € 25 !!)

Have a wonderful holiday time!!!

Dirk



27 November, 2012

Making of 11th month

Hello,
Recently I kind of re-discovered my own Build Your Own Texture Pack and actually used some textures, that I had forgotten about.
Today's picture is once again some very moody autumn shot taken a few years back on a foggy November morning.
I am still waiting for similar weather, but "unfortunately" this year's November didn't offer these weather conditions over here....

Let's start with the finished image. Mouseover will reveal the picture that I imported in Photoshop.

11th month
   


Processing in Lightroom

I started with this RAW photo:

11th month RAW

First I treated the exposure. I aimed at making it brighter avoiding to blow out the already light fog while retaining the soft silhouettes of the forest in the  background. 
Then I wanted a different mood. I initially had a much colder atmosphere in mind, so I  initially went for a more bluish tone in the fog which I achieved with a colour temperature around 5000K.

11month blue version

This version didn't work for me, so I went in the opposite direction and that resulted in a very soft and much warmer yellow tone that I liked somehow much better. 
I tweaked the tone of the grass, the contrast of the tree in the foreground an some other details until I exported this version of the picture to Photoshop:

11th month Lightroom
Applying textures

After some playing around I ended up using two textures from the pack, pls follow the link for a closer look at the textures:

*The percentage numbers beside the blending mode are referring to the Opacity of the layer!

The tone and soft grunge look of Old Stories was a great addition to the tones I achieved in LR. 
I didn't want to have the rainbow look of the 2nd texture, but really liked the structure, so I added a clipping mask to convert the texture into b&w. I also added a layer mask to recover the soft red pastel tones of the texture at the bottom to add some red tones to the grass.
I finalized the picture by adding slightly more contrast and conducted minor color adjustments.


Opacity vs Fill

People have been asking me about the difference between Opacity (German Deckkraft) and Fill (German Fläche), because until recently I used both sliders without bothering whether this is correct or not. The only thing important to me was the result I saw in my picture.
Because of your questions I started to investigate about this and found out, that the Fill - Slider isn't really necessary, if you work with textures. It has no impact other than reducing or enhancing Opacity. So actually every texture  effect can be achieved by only changing the Opacity of a layer in combination with a blending mode. 



Thanks for your interest!
Have a great week! 

24 October, 2012

Sculpting Light & Freebie

Hello,
it's been a while since I gave away a texture, but today I have a wonderful freebie that helps you add a nice vignette to your photos. I needed a texture for a close-up of a bird I shot on La Palma in March and I couldn't find one that I liked so I altered & changed an older texture.

To demonstrate what I did let me first start with a before and after of my photo:
Move the mouse over the pic to see the change!

Raven Portrait
I used two of my free textures -
First a new one, that is the main texture in my picture:
Click on the picture to download it from Picasa!!

Violet Feathers Texture
Aus Free textures
 
The other one is an older freebie, you'll find it here :
Click on the picture to download!

Forest Light Texture
Aus Free textures
To make it easier to follow how I processed this picture I'll post the Photoshop layers for your information:





The background was very bright, almost white, so I used the texture twice.
The multiply - layer added a subtle structure to the background. As it made my subject too dark I erased the texture on the bird using a layer mask.
The second overlay-layer made the texture more visible and crisp.
I already had a nice vignette around my bird. I wanted to have a bid more light from the left so I added the forest light texture, which accentuated the bird's head and reduced the vignette in the top left corner of the image. I didn't need the green tones, so I changed the texture to b&w using a clipping mask.

Sculpting light with textures tips

- You can influence the existing light in a picture, but you can't create plausible light sources with textures
- you can strengthen parts of a picture, e.g. you can point to the main subjet (composition)
- use layer masks to erase parts that are disturbing or soften these parts using the blur tool
- use textures that provide a frame or a vignette or have a kind of light direction (from the sides, from above)
- try to invert very dark or very bright textures to see what they do
- experiment with blending modes
- use a light texture to brighten parts of a picture that are a bit too dark (using Soft Light / Overlay blending mode)
- use darker textures, e.g. to darken the sky or any other desired area ( e.g. by using Multiply or Color Burn blending mode)

I hope I gave you some ideas what can be done with textures when it comes to the manipulation of light.


Texture Promotion

My texture packs are still 15% off if you enter the Coupon code

FALLMAGIC12

Just follow one of the various links on this blog to the textures on my Homepage!
Promotion ends October 31, 2012!!!!

Thanks for reading!

Dirk

11 October, 2012

Autumn texture promotion & fall impressions

Hi,
I added some new textures (soft & grungy ones) to the build-your-own-texture-pack and also edited some of the existing textures and made them smoother and easier to work with.
You can take a look at them by following the above link.

You can also get a 15% discount on all textures by entering the coupon code


FALLMAGIC12

at the check out!!

This discount is only available until October 30, 2012!




Enough of promotion back to photos of autumn & its inspiring colors & moods:

All following pictures were processed using textures from one of my various packs.

Let's start with a shot I took last Sunday morning. When I became aware that I was unable to see a prominent TV tower on the hill outside of my window, I knew I had to get out to take some photos in the morning fog. This time I wasn't too lazy to take my tripod with me, so I am in some of the shots as well & of course could take longer exposures at a better ISO setting.

The light was fantastic with the rising sun coming through the trees. Still there was a light mist hanging in the forest. I also liked the contrast between the dark red leaves on the ground and the still green trees.


enjoying autum
After processing the picture in lightroom I used three of my newly added textures  to enhance the atmosphere. The textures I used were Gold Dust, Snake and Fog Screen. The latter one is perfect for strengthening already misty landscapes, forests with the blending mode set at "Normal". 
Please check the last post for more information!

As always, please have a look at a screenshot of the PF layers. 
The path in the foreground was missing some fallen red leaves, so I added some color on a separate layer above the background and painted it with a soft brush using the exact color of the leaves. To make it smoother I also applied a Gaussian blur (50%) on this layer.

Enjoying autum layers



 Some more autumn impressions:
 
   
Moody River



At the River
Autumn Morning Forest

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to contact me!

Enjoy autumn!!!

Dirk

06 September, 2012

Enhancing Fog, Moods and Atmospheres with Textures

Hello,
with September already on its way and autumn & winter approaching there will be plenty of bad weather and the chance to take some moody landscape shots. So I thought I once again do something on texturizing foggy landscapes and enhancing/creating the unique atmosphere these kind of conditions have.
Following one of my first posts that dealt with texturizing fog Adding Mood and Fog with Textures  I want to show some additional techniques to process this kind of shots.

Recently I edited a bunch of pictures where I wanted to enhance the already moody atmosphere and was looking for other ways to use textures on them. After a lot of playing around I got the best results when using at least one texture in blending mode NORMAL.
All of these texture have a few things in common:

- they have a fine structure
- they have a more or less strong cloudy appearance
- they are rather light
- they are not very colorful



Let's start with my most recent picture. Here the effect is more subtle and the fog/ mist has still a natural feel. (though the colors I chose counteract this....)

Cold Mirror
   


I chose a cloudy texture for this subtle effect, that added some mist in the darker parts of the picture. I used a layer mask to erase some of the texture in the lighter parts of the image. 
Settings were: 
Blending mode: Normal
Opacity: 50%
Fill: 70 % 

Storm Clouds


Adding Fog - Reducing Contrast

In the next picture it was important to get a more balanced appearance. I didn't want to  crop out the dark trunks on the left side so I had to come up with a solution to reduce the contrast. 

Empty Forest
   

My texture of choice was White Screen

White Screen

With a setting of 50% opacity and 70% fill and a layer mask erasing the middle I got a nice misty overlay of the dark trunks.

Another example were I used a texture which is particularly good a reducing contrasts, is my picture "Cold to the Bone"

Cold to the Bone
   

I used my texture Pergament from the Soft-Grunge-Textures-Bag:

Pergament

The setting was 
Blending mode: Normal
Opacity: 60%
Fill: 100 %

As mentioned before the best results you achieve with subtle & light textures. These you'll find in my

Build your own texture pack or in the Soft-Grunge-Textures-Bag



Brighten the picture using HARD LIGHT

You should also try the blending mode HARD LIGHT at a rather low opacity (< 20%) in combination with the NORMAL mode. This will add a little more texture (so use a rather fine one) and also lighten the overall picture.

That's all for today. Enjoy the fog.


16 August, 2012

underexposure & technical evolution

Hi, only a short post.
 I am always amazed to learn how much one can do with with todays processing software. You should never delete "too dark" underexposed picture. It is incredible how much detail & color can be salvaged with the help of Lightroon, GIMP and Photoshop (these are the ones I use). Nobody can say what more can be done with software in a few years from now!

Furthermore you can alter and change the mood and look of an image considerably with the help of textures!

Here is an eye-opening before & after:



Windswept Plain
  
I used some of my textures from my build-your-own-texture and a texture from the wonderful 
DistressedJewell that you can find here: Free Textures.


Next I will post something on sculpting light with textures!!

Thanks.

03 August, 2012

Black and White Photos and texture use

Hello,
today I want to share some examples concerning the use of textures on b&w / monochrome photos. It is my impression, that textures are less used on monochrome and especially black and white photos. Often I find myself reluctant to use a texture after I converted a color shot into b&w.
There are really awesome photographeres who only shoot/show b&w photos and I really admire their work. And almost noone uses a texture with them.
I never shoot in b&w, all my works are conversions into B&W of colour shots that I did either in Lightroom or in Photoshop.

I think I approach texturizing a b&w shot more reluctant, because I became aware that textures can overwhelm a b&w shot more easily than a colour photo. Still I think it is worthwhile playing around with textures and monochrome shots as well. I think I generally tend to use them more subtle.


Pictures

This picture called for a more heavier use of texture. I first did the colored version, but thought the mood would be more intense with a conversion into b&w.

desolation


The picture the Chat started as a b&w picture. I liked the two guys sitting on the tracks having a conversation in the evening sun. I didn't like the hard contrasts of the b&w pic, so I began adding a texture. I used the texture Stone Grunge (from the Pick Your Own Pack) as an overlay, which added some haze to the shot. I also liked the idea of a light beam hitting the scenery. Some additional structure was added by a 2nd texture. For more information pls check the hard copy of the layers I added!
the Chat
   


Layers: The Chat



Here are some more pics that were originally shot in colour and afterwards converted into monochrome/ b&w. I hope these give you an impression how I process b&w pics with textures. 
Most of the time I use textures only to enhance negative space. That means adding structure to dark/black or white areas. 
I also convert the chosen textures into b&w using a clipping mask.(As shown in the above exampe)
I also erase parts, that would otherwise influence my whites or darker regions. It is also fun to invert textures to check its effect on your picture. As always there is a lot of playing around involved.

white peacock

Hafentempel Xanten
Contortions
Darkwood Conspiracy
Simplicity

All pictures have been processed with one or more of my textures from the various packs I offer. 
Please feel free to check them out.

Thanks & have a nice weekend!

Dirk


21 July, 2012

Texture Pack changes & free stuff!

Hi,
Sorry for not posting more tutorials....I try to get one done in the next days!

Today I have to announce some changes to my texture packs:

First I have made a new medium priced texture pack with textures of medium size between 3000px and 4000px. Most of them were part of the "Build your own Pack" or of my" Texture Pack One". Now you can get 44 of them for 19,90€ which is a discount of about 40%. I also added some previously unreleased textures.

Here are some of them:

Medium sized texture pack

If you want to have a closer look, please follow the link :

Medium-Sized-Textures


Also I just finished two new textures that I like to share for free:

one with light from the left:

Aus Free textures
and another very grungy one:

Aus Free textures
I am always interested to know how you used them, so I would like to invite you to post them to my flickr group ( provided you're on flickr)

dyrkwyst texture + aRt


2nd:
I  added a bunch of new textures to my build-your-own-texture-pack. You might want to take a look at them at the end of the gallery. I also altered/re-sized o lot of the other textures, so they are at least 4000px wide or larger!

Have a great weekend!
Dirk

20 June, 2012

Free Texture Wednesday VII - use your imagination

Hi there, you already know that I love creating textures and of course love using them on my photos. Once in a while I get results (when creating a texture) that I find totally beautiful, but have no idea on what kind of photo this might be used for.

So, if you are more creative than I with this texture, please show me your final results!
If you are on Flickr, you can post your picture to my group dyrkwyst texture & art.

If you don't have a Flickr account, you can also send me a small version of your pic by email: wuestend1@ yahoo.de

You can download the texture from my Picasa album. Please follow the link or click on the picture.

magic circle


Magic Circle
Aus Free textures

So, use your imagination and start texturizing and show me what you come up with!

Have a nice week!

Thanks,
Dirk

11 June, 2012

Texturizing Fog

Hello, today's post is all about mood. (How suitable for a monday...)
I came across some foggy landscapes that I shot in last autumn and now took the opportunity to process.
Texturizing soft foggy landscapes is a lesson in texture control. It quickly happens that one overpowers the picture by using powerful blending modes or very grungy & strong textures. So besides the reluctance with PS's adjusters one has to carefully choose the texture.
I found out that it works quite well with textures, that have a fine structure & don't have too much colour. So, you might have to alter the textures colour or reduce it to your liking.
Soft creamy tones are perfect.


Foggy River
   
What helps keeping the light mood & the atmosphere is using one texture layer in blending mode "normal". This will most likely be the texture that will be setting the tone & structure of your image. Additional texture layers will modify & tone your picture. 




I only used textures from my Soft-Grunge-Texture-Bag . They also work quite fine with vintage processing/ monochrome pictures, as you can see in the following pictures. 
These where processed in a similar fashion, except that I found them better in only one color.





Thanks for your attention!

03 June, 2012

Texturizing skies / New Texture Pack



Hello,
I admit it - I have been lame and lazy concerning new blog posts. Today I am back with a new pack of handmade fine art textures, that were inspired by skies and summer colors. I decided to create some textures that can easily be used to spice up a dull white or blue cloudless sky.
So this is an addition to the post on texturizing negative space.

I love fair weather and can appreciate a cloudless sky, but  unfortunately they leave me with a rather uninspiring empty space too often.

All the following pics were processed using a texture from the new pack or from the last one (Soft grunge texture bag). This is the new one:


dreamy skies & summer colors / 22.90€ /app. 28 US$



I have prepared a few examples to show you how these textures can be used with "empty skies". To see the difference you only have to move your mouse over the picture to see the un-processed version of the picture.

Picture 1

Bird Line

Bird Line Layers


I wasn't satisfied with the tinted background, so I decided to convert it into b&w. Adding the "Mint Sky - texture immediately turned it into a more interesting pic. Adding the free Shout- texture gave a nice soft grunge appearance as well as a light yellow tint. This yellow tint I decided to enhance with layer of a dark blue color. I like how the blending mode "Exclusion" makes the light tones more yellow while turning the dark ones slightly blue.
You can down load the shout texture here: SHOUT Texture


Picture 2     
Quiete Land


Picture 3
Rural Cliche


OK, this is a rather heavily textured photo, but I liked the result. That way I got a more balanced picture, I thought. But I leave that to your taste....

Picture 4

Finally one more subtle processing:
These are the two lighthouses in the volcanic south of La Palma, Canary Islands. The red & white one is still in operation, while the older and smaller one now serves as a little museum. We were there on a very clear and windy day. I chose a texture to spice up the sky a little bit. It was a fairly easy processing. I only had to straighten the lighthouses a little bit, because of the wide angle I used they were inclined to the left side. Then it was only one texture that I copied and the photo was done.
   
Faros de Fuencaliente, La Palma, Canary Islands



Thanks for your interest. I I try to be back with a new post sooner the next time.

09 May, 2012

Soft Grunge Texture Bag launched

Hello,
I have been busy with creating textures lately and now I have finished the first of my Ready to Go texture packs. Take a closer look on my texture gallery or HERE.

So please check them out!

Some of the pics I processed with them:

Shadow Players




Runner


Summer Bliss

Natural Brush

Next time I will show you some texture creation in progress.

Thank you!

See you soon!