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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Add A Creative Touch To Your Pictures

Artistic expressions are only a few clicks away

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We all strive for pictures that look unique, artistic and creative. That goes for when they're framed and hung on a wall, when they're posted on the web, and maybe even when they're published in a book or magazine article. One creative idea is to add emphasis to the main or central subject in an image. Another is to dress up the image with a digital frame or border. In this column, we'll cover a few easy techniques for accomplishing both goals—and more.

1 As a main illustration for this column, I'll use a photograph I took of a leopard while  I was on a safari in Botswana. This image is a straight shot: a RAW file with some minor Levels adjustments.

2 Many of the Renaissance painters used darker color inks around the edges of the painting to draw interest and attention to the "centerpiece" of the work of art. We can create a similar effect in Photoshop CS3 and in Photoshop Elements 6.

In Photoshop CS3, go to Filter > Lens Correction and move the Vignette sliders all the way to the left. That's what I did on my leopard photograph. In Photoshop Elements 6, go to Filter > Correct Camera Distortion and move the Vignette sliders all the way to the left to create the same effect. For a less intense effect, move the sliders only partially to the left.

3 A tight crop also draws more attention to the subject. So does creating an image that shows a full-color subject against a black-and-white background. I used those two techniques to create this image. After cropping, here's the technique.



In Photoshop CS3, create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and then desaturate the new adjustment layer. Then, with black selected as the foreground color, select a soft-edge brush and paint over (mask out) the main subject area on the Layer Mask (which restores the full color of the subject).






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