Texture

The Moat – Eltham Palace Gardens

The Moat – Eltham Palace Gardens

A photograph of the moat at Eltham Palace Gardens

One of the places we love to visit is Eltham Palace Gardens in London.. which is owned and maintained by the English Heritage… The Palace is surrounded by a moat, with two of moat being water and the other two sides being formal gardens…

To gain access to the Palace you have to cross a stone bridge and the above photograph was taking whilst standing on that bridge looking down at the moat.

Even though I liked the above photograph purely processed in Lightroom; I wanted to take it a step further and decided to process the image in Photoshop using Topaz Texture Effects 2 and Topaz Impression.

A photograph of the moat at Eltham Palace Gardens processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects 2

What I liked above using the Topaz Texture Effects 2 was that it gave more definition to the tree branches and trunks as well as the sky.  I didn’t want a heavy texture applied to the image as I wanted the texture to add subtle hints of texture. The above image is straight from Photoshop without adding any further edits in Lightroom.

A photograph of the moat at Eltham Palace Gardens processed in Lightroom, Topaz Impression and Topaz Texture Effects 2

The above is the final image after adding Topaz Impression 2 to the image… I love the paint effect and I added some dodging and burning using radial filters in Lightroom to give the image a feeling of there being many light sources.

Even though I love all three images my favourite is the painted effect image created by Topaz Impression 2… and I am quite pleased with the effect these plugins gave the image especially when you add the image to a frame.

And if you want to add a frame to your image you can download the frames in jpeg images and lrtemplates for both landscape and portrait frames by clicking HERE.

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Posted by Bren in Landscape, Photography, 4 comments
Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

Original Image straight from Photoshop

 

Carrying on from yesterday.. I have found another few sites that offer free png files for download.. Anyway for today’s creation I thought I would use these images… and have processed the above image in Lightroom, giving 5 different versions of the image.

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

I think my favourite has to be the second processed photograph which has a pastel and dreamy looking feel to it. I am also entering this into the Daily Post Mythical challenge.

If any of my readers know of any good sites where you can download free png files I would be most grateful if you could leave a link in the comments…

Have a good weekend everyone xx

Posted by Bren in Digital Art, 0 comments
Monday morning… and Instagram

Monday morning… and Instagram

lioness

Well it is Monday morning again.. and due to hip problems.. I still haven’t been able to get out and about… so for me this weekend.. was a weekend of sitting in, and playing with Apps on my tablet, Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop, Monochrome Photography and not forgetting Textures in Topaz Texture Effects 2.

I am now using my tablet more and more, due to it being able to run Photoshop Mix.. but for the Oil paint effect photographs.. I did resort to Photoshop for the Oil Paint Filter.

My two oil paint photographs, were of a lioness taken at Whipsnade Zoo and daffodils which were just about to bloom at Ightham Mote.

 

My textured photos were created using Photoshop Mix for the woodland photos

 

and Topaz Texture Effects 2 for the floral photography

 

My final two photographs were monochrome photos…

 

 

I really liked the Lioness photograph so I added a frame to that using the Print Module in Lightroom, well that is what I did all weekend… hope you all had a good weekend and I look forward to seeing all your photographs, on your blogs.

Posted by Bren in Animals, Floral, Monochrome, Night Photography, Photography, 2 comments
On the sea-shore

On the sea-shore

breakwater-img_5413-framed2

Can nothing last?
No deep, intense emotion?
Have all things passed,
Can nothing last?
‘Yes,’ sighs the wind,
‘ My passion for the Ocean
Must always last.’

Is nothing True?
No words of protestation?
Love cries anew
‘ Is nothing True?’
‘Yes,’ sobs the sea,
‘ My endless adoration
For yonder rock is true !

‘Will nothing stand
Against the stress of weather?
Storms sweep the land,
Will nothing stand ?
‘Yes,’ says the rock,
‘ For God and I together,
We two will stand.’

Poetry by Radclyffe Hall

Photograph taken at Tankerton in Kent on a cold February morning.

Posted by Bren in Photography, Seascape, 0 comments
Bland sky… Use Topaz Texture Effects 2..

Bland sky… Use Topaz Texture Effects 2..

Then no worries.. just use a texture

img_1282-edit-3

Do you have a photograph, with excellent fall colours, or stunning architecture but the sky lets you down?  Well no fear.. by using Topaz Texture Effects 2 you can give your sky the boost it needs… to take it from a bland boring sky.. to a sky with texture and colour… To see my tutorial for this photograph just head on over to Topaz Labs Blog where I give a full tutorial on how to rectify a bland, dull sky.

Posted by Bren in Photography, Tutorials, 0 comments
A bridge too far

A bridge too far

A photograph of a wooden bridge at Sheffield Park Gardens, processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects 2.

A photograph of a wooden bridge at Sheffield Park Gardens, processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects 2.

With each day that passes my journey with Topaz Texture Effects 2 is getting better and better.. I am learning how to create my own Presets and learning what each slider does.  I can’t express enough the power of the Luminosity Masking in TTE2, for me it makes processing a textured photograph so much easier.

I would also like to mention there is an excellent community on Topaz Texture Effects 2, where other users upload effects that they have created, which you can download.  And if you wish you can even share your own effects with the community.  Talk about a bonus… I would say so.

The above photograph was one of the very first photographs we took back in 2013 at Sheffield Park Gardens and was photographed using a point and shoot camera.

Posted by Bren in Landscape, Photography, 2 comments
Topaz Texture Effects – Preinstalled Presets

Topaz Texture Effects – Preinstalled Presets

A photograph of Leeds Castle with basic Lightroom Edits before Processing in Topaz Texture Effects 2

A photograph of Leeds Castle with basic Lightroom Edits before Processing in Topaz Texture Effects 2

For day 7 of my ‘test before you buy’ of Topaz Texture Effects 2 I thought I would take an image of Leeds Castle, with Lightroom Basic Edits and distractions (people) removed in Photoshop and apply 5 preinstalled Presets of Topaz Texture Effects 2.  No further edits were carried out and none of the presets were altered in any form.

Basic Black and White

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect - Basic Black and White

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect 2 Preset – Basic Black and White

 

Black Hole

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect - Black Hole

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect 2 Preset – Black Hole

 

Careless

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect -   Careless

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect 2 Preset – Careless

 

Fading Canvas

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect - Fading Canvas

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect 2 Preset – Fading Canvas

 

Seeing Red

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect - Seeing Red

A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect 2 Preset – Seeing Red

 

I have to say each of these presets are a good starting point and I love the various Presets that are pre-installed with the software.  And the added bonus is, you can create your own Presets and that you have the ability to Favourite any of the presets already installed or the presets you have created.

Posted by Bren in Photography, 0 comments
Duck Pond

Duck Pond

A photograph of a little pond at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent.

A photograph of a little pond at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent.

I really can’t believe how much I am liking this Topaz Texture Effects. The above photograph heading its way to the trash bin; I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like the sky. I didn’t like the texture of the photograph, so for experimentation purposes, I wanted to see if this photograph which was heading towards that recycle bin could be transformed using Topaz Texture Effects 2.  And all I can say is WOW.

My processing method for this photograph was:

  • Original edits in Lightroom, which included exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows, blacks, whites and clarity.
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  • Using the Edit in Feature I selected ‘Edit in Topaz Texture Effects’ (which I had already set up via Topaz Labs easy instructions on how to use this piece of software with Lightroom).
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  • A dust and scratches adjustment was added to top left hand corner, in a diagonal shape to add texture to sky to the sky. Again I could add my own dust and scratch textures should I wish.  But for this photograph I used one of the pre-installed dust and scratch textures.
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  • I wanted a light leak within the main tree where there was a hole in the branches, so I used the Light Leak Adjustment, increased the size and lowered the opacity so that it was so prominent.  I just wanted that glimmer and the sliders with the Light Leaks adjustment gave me the exact adjustments I wanted.
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  • One of the many things I like about Topaz Texture Effects 2, is the ability to add your own textures.. so all those textures you have saved over the months and years on your computer, are easily imported into this software for you to be able to use at the click of a few buttons.  So for this particular image, I used one of my own textures which I uploaded to Topaz Texture Effects 2 and then used the luminosity masking to keep this texture mainly in the areas where I wanted it to be more prominent. In fact you can add your own textures, light leaks, photos for double exposures.. easily and each panel gives you the ability to categorise your textures into groups.
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  • I wanted to make the darks and contrast of the trees, pond and bushes more prominent and I found I could do this easily by adding a Basic Adjustment to the picture. And because I didn’t want the sky  affected as I had already achieved the desired look I wanted, I then add a luminosity mask to this adjustment so that it only affected the trees and pond.
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  • When I was happy I saved my photo by clicking OK and Topaz Texture Effects automatically added my textured image back into Lightroom. From there I just added a graduated filter and did some dodging and burning.

This photograph was basically one of the first few I did in Topaz Texture Effects 2 and I have to say, you don’t need to be an artist to be able to create stunning work. The software is easy to use and very powerful.  The only thing that holds you back is your imagination.  If you can imagine it… Topaz Texture Effects 2 can do it, easier and a lot quicker than using Photoshop alone.

Topaz Texture Effects 2 is also a standalone application, so you don’t have to have Lightroom or Photoshop to use it, which is an added bonus within itself.

I have now been using this software for a few days and as each day passes, I am finding that you can do some of the basic things that you do in Lightroom. Yes there are some limitations with Topaz Texture Effects… one being not able to Watermark your photograph… And my earlier little gripe about not being able to dodge and burn has now been smoothed away.. you see  I have found a way to dodge and burn in Topaz Texture Effects 2… You just do the following:

  • Create a Basic Adjustment
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  • Enable Masking
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  • Invert the Masking Layer to Black
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  • Select the Brush option, and lower the strength and hardness and paint in white at various strengths to do your dodging by altering the sliders within the Basic Adjustment Panel and then repeat the process to do your burning.

For me this software is exactly what I was looking for.. yes it does have its teething problems about stripping the lens profile from the metadata even after experimented to see whether the lens profile would still be there if I made sure that the Lens Profile was selected in Lightroom’s Lens Profile Panel in the Develop Module; but these are features that Topaz Labs could work on..

One other thing I have found, is this, if you want to do a post and show the enhancements you made.. or you want to create your work as a Preset make sure you do your screen captures as you go along and save the Preset before clicking OK.  Because once you click OK, the photograph is automatically imported back into Lightroom and the Topaz Texture Effects 2 software is closed immediately.

Again minor things, but enhancements that would make this particular software just perfect.

 

Posted by Bren in Landscape, Photography, 2 comments
Review of Topaz Texture Effects 2.

Review of Topaz Texture Effects 2.

A photograph of a hydrangea bloom processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects.

A photograph of a hydrangea bloom processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects.

Well you know me with my textures, I go through phases where I have to texture everything and normally I use Photoshop and Luminosity Masks to create the effect I want.  So I thought I would give Topaz Texture Effects 2 a try.  Yes you can use it directly from Lightroom and by all accounts from Photoshop.

I downloaded the 30-day free trial and if I purchase before the 30th October and use the code TFX2 I only pay $59.99 instead of the normal $69.99 price.  So I am now going through the process of trying this piece of software rigorously as I don’t want to pay for something that I don’t get on with.  My first impressions of this piece of software so far have been very positive.

A photograph of a hydrangea bloom processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects.

A photograph of a hydrangea bloom processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects.

I like the fact that you can add your own textures to the Textures Library, and there is even a group where you can share your texture creations with others.  Topaz Texture Effects 2, comes with a good range of pre-installed presets, however, there is plenty of scope for you to create your own texture and save them as presets.

There are a range of sliders where you can create various other effects, there is also an option to create double-exposure photographs.  You can use the vast range of pre-installed textures as well as any you have on your computer.

There is also an option to mask out areas where you don’t want the texture on your image, and there are plenty of blending modes for you to choose with your textures.

A photograph of a woodland walk at Beech Court Gardens in Kent, processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects.

A photograph of a woodland walk at Beech Court Gardens in Kent, processed in Lightroom and Topaz Texture Effects.

topaz-texture-effectsYou can also do many basic adjustments to your photograph like you do in Lightroom.  There is also options for adding edge blur, edge exposure, split toning and many more options.  You can add as many of these options as you want.. You can use 2 or more textures, you can also add borders, colour overlays and light leaks.

The creativity skills of this piece of software is only limited by your imagination.

So far I have added my own textures and created various categories for those textures.

Now for the downside, yes there always has to be one… I have found that the software strips some of the metadata, mainly the lens used.  Because we both have Canon 70D’s we now have our own copyright import which states which one of us took the photo.  Prior to creating those import presets and us both using the 70D, I used to know whose photo was who’s by the lens used.  And when this information is striped from the metadata it makes it rather difficult.  My next test will be to see if I enable the Lens Profile in Lightroom Develop Module, whether that keeps the metadata.  And if it does, I hope Topaz do an update where the metadata is taken from the import settings if the lens profile in Lightroom is not check marked.

So far I am give Topaz Texture Effects 4.5 stars out of 5.  And providing this software lives up to what I want, based on this I will be purchasing before the end of October.  So stayed tuned to read whether I will be making that buy.

Posted by Bren in Photography, 2 comments
Magnolia

Magnolia

A photograph of a magnolia bud taken a Hole Park in Kent

A photograph of a magnolia bud taken a Hole Park in Kent

 

On one of our trips out and about we went to Hole Park in Kent.. as we strolled around the gardens, in full bloom was a wonderful magnolia tree.  I just couldn’t help but capture one of the buds… for this photograph, I decided that I wanted to keep the photograph as pastel as possible, so I added a texture that complimented the texture in the petals.

Posted by Bren in Floral, Photography, 0 comments