Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Photo editing tutorials: Create better-than-Instagram vintage photos

Fabio Sasso shows you how you can create retro lighting effects in Photoshop with a degree of control that means you get exactly the look you want without the trial-and-error aspect of the iPhone apps. And when you work with high-res photos and Photoshop's toolset, the results are far superior too.
Read More:

Enhance live event photography with Lightroom, Photoshop

If you're looking to improve your photography editing skills then you've come to the right place, because we've got 12 brilliant Photoshop tutorials that cover many different useful techniques for all kinds of photographers.

We've got tutorials to help you make your images look like antiques or help you master the art of portrait editing, others that show you how to create a stop motion still or even bring your photographs to life in the form of Cinemagraphs.
Many of our photography tutorials are written by our brilliant contributor and increasingly high-profile photographer Tigz Rice, and there are a few from some other extremely talented photographers who have offered to share their wisdom with us, too.

Enhance live event photography

In this tutorial, Tigz covers how to correct key issues those photographing artificially low-lit indoor events – such as stage shows, theatre productions and award ceremonies – will come across during their shoots. These include underexposure, colour spills, distracting backgrounds and noise from shooting at high ISO.

Creating a attractive panosphere in PhotoShop

Composite a skyline, turn it into a planet, and discover new worlds of possibility in Photoshop!


1. Open your start image

Open the start image, which is going to be the guideline for you to build your skyline onto. We need a cloudless sky for this picture so the clouds won’t be distorted, and the green space will just help visually when placing icons and landmarks.

2. Halve Manhattan

Our first landmark is going to be a picture of Manhattan. Place it onto your picture and rasterise the layer. Now select half of it and Ctrl/ right-click; choose Layer Via Cut. Move the right-hand side of the city to the far-left of the picture, and the left side over to the right.

3. Mask out the sky

Now we’ve halved the city, use Select>Colour Range to locate the blue (use the Magic Wand in Elements, contiguous unchecked), and use a Lasso to tidy up, before clicking the Mask button.

4. Insert the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is such a striking, world-famous landmark that it’s a great addition to our picture and adds a nice bit of height. Using an iconic building can be a great idea, so we’re going to place it right of the centre where the action’s going to be happening. Mask out the sky.

5. Add a coast

Let’s focus on the opposite side now and blend the river into the town. We’re going to add the beach slightly below the horizon and mask out the sky, as we did with the other pictures. We’re not aiming for a realistic skyline, but you can create one if you want.

6. Bring in more beach

Add the picture of the deck chairs next to the beach and then again mask out the sky. Don’t worry about the green space below this composition yet; just try and position the beach nicely onto the picture for now.

7. Start blending the beach

Use a soft brush on the masks of these two layers to blend the beach into the picture. Clone the sand texture from the deck chair picture onto the palm tree picture’s layer, and make it look a bit cleaner.

8. Add the lake

Now add the lake in front of the Eiffel Tower to prepare for the next steps. Maybe tidy your layers now; you might want to place one half of Manhattan above the lake, and the other half below the lake, for example. Split layers with Layer Via Cut.

9. Place a waterfall

Place the waterfall over the edge of the river so that it falls into the lake. If you align it as we have, the lake should level with the beach. Try to get the width of the waterfall covering the width of the river, ready to blend in a minute.

10. Blend water


Again, use masking to merge your last layer with the picture. Add the other waterfall picture into the lake and mask so that the stream flows cleanly. Even add a new layer, and with a soft, white brush, paint around the base of the waterfall for spray.

11. Blend the lake and the beach

Now we’re going to blend the lake in with the beach. Use soft brushes on the mask layer to show more of the beach over the rocky edges of the lake, and harder brushes to reveal more or less of the rocks situated behind.

12. Add mountains

Add the mountain images. These are good for the background, as they fill the composition and give added depth. While you’re at it, add another layer, set to Color and gently brush over the river in blue to keep the various layers the same colour.

13. Bring in the valleys

Let’s deal with that green block at the bottom. Paste the valley picture over the image, halve it and place it over the corners, as with Manhattan. Paste it again and go to Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal. Mask the edges, and you’ll have a seamless panorama like this.

14. Blend in again

Merge the valley layers together and blend them into the picture as you have done with everything else, using masking and maybe the Clone tool. Soften harsh edges between the grass and the pasted images for a more natural look.

15. Duplicate, crop and resize

Press Cmd/Ctrl+Alt/Opt+Shift+E to create a screenshot, Ctrl/right-click and duplicate to a new layer. Crop the image to get rid of excess grass and sky, then press the Constrain Aspect Ratio symbol and resize so the width is the same as the height.

16. Distort

Here comes the magical part: rotate the image 180 degrees from Edit>Transform and head to Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates. Check Rectangular to Polar and click OK. This will join up the edges of your skyline into a sphere. Rotate again to keep the waterfall and Eiffel Tower at the top of the image.

17. Touch up and finish

Now add your finishing touches. Clone over the seam of the image – which shouldn’t take much effort, thanks to your earlier editing – and add the clouds and plane. Duplicate the plane layer, set to 50% Opacity and add a Path Blur (Motion Blur in Elements) for some added effect.

Create bokeh and light leaks!

Inject colour effects into your day or night shots

Light Leaks


1. Gradients

Create a new layer and fill it black so you can see what you’re creating. Click on the Gradient button and choose a bright colour to transparent style, which will emanate from a corner. Do this again to build up colour, with the mode set to Screen.

2. Brushes

You may wish to add even more colour. Simply select a big, soft brush and set this blend mode to Screen too. Lower the Opacity of the brush, so it’s not too garish. Then colour over the light leak in the colours of your choice.

3. Screen

Set this layer’s blend mode to Screen. The black in the picture will become invisible for you to only see the light leak, but by creating it on black, you can get an idea for what looks good! Experiment and study other light leaks for inspiration.



1. Scatter brush

Go to Brush Settings and select the brush. Set the Scatter to 30% and the Spacing to 100%. Then, when you brush, the dots will automatically scatter across the picture, like spots of dispersed light, ready for you to throw bright colours over later.

2. Layers and blurs

Scatter dots over the picture on a new layer. Then create another new layer and do the same – do this a few times. Then head to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and blur the dots by 10px. Give each layer a different level of blur ready for the colour.

3. The finished piece

Now for what will make the picture: the colour. Create a new layer, below the Bokeh layers but above the Background. Place a coloured gradient, and set each of the layers to the Overlay blend mode. Merge all of the layers together and set to Screen blend mode.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Getting to Know the Illustrator CS5 Toolbox

Illustrator CS5 offers a variety of great tools to be creative with. For those who are just getting familiar with Illustrator capabilities, all of these tools, palettes, and options can be confusing. Therefore, before we start drawing in illustrator, it is good to know what each tool is used for. Knowing the fundamentals of each tool can make you more efficient and consequently take you to the next level. So, let’s take a closer look at each of Illustrator CS5’s great tools.


By default the Toolbox opens each time we create a New Document. If the Toolbox doesn’t appear in your Workspace you can open it by going to Window > Tools.
The Toolbox
To choose a Tool Click its icon. Some tools have hidden tools behind them, in order to see them click and hold down the mouse on a tool until the other tools pop up.
Tool Po++p Up
For fast access each Tool has a designated keyboard shortcut. For example, to access the Pencil Toolwe can just simple press the letter N.
Toggle the Toolbox Click the double arrow to toggle the Toolbox between double column and single column.
Now, let’s learn about each group of Tools:


These are the most important and used tools inside Illustrator. With these tools we manipulate, move, select, and modify our Vector objects.
Selection Tools
  • Selection Tool (V) Selection Tool (V): Moves and re-sizes objects.
  • Direct Selection Tool (A) Direct Selection Tool (A): Selects entire paths or objects. Mostly used to fix/reshape objects.
  • Group Selection Tool Group Selection Tool: Selects just one object within a group.
  • Magic Wand Tool (Y) Magic Wand Tool (Y): Selects objects with common characteristics. Its settings are adjustable.
  • Lasso tool (Q) Lasso Tool (Q): Allows freehand selection of points or objects.


Pen Text Drawing Eraser Tools
Pen Tools
Also known as, B├ęzier Tools. They are used to draw and edit vector line segments.
  • Pen Tool (P) Pen Tool (P): Used to create paths (straight or curved vector lines). Each click creates an anchor point.
  • Add Anchor Point Add Anchor Point Tool (+): As its name indicates, it adds anchor points to any path.
  • Delete Anchor Point Delete Anchor Point Tool (-): Deletes an anchor point from a path.
  • Convert Anchor Point Tool Convert Anchor Point Tool (Shift + C): Allows you to convert a sharp corner to a smooth curve, or a smooth curve to a sharp corner.
Type Tools
  • Type Tool (T) Type Tool (T): Click on the art-board area to begin writing. To create a Type Box Click and Drag. To edit text just click.
  • Area Type Tool Area Type Tool: Allows you to write inside a shape.
  • Type on a Path Tool Type on a Path Tool: Allows you to write on a path.
  • Vertical Type Tool Vertical Type Tool: Guess… Yep, it allows you to write vertically.
  •  Vertical Area Type Tool: Allows you to add vertical text inside a shape.
  • vertical Type on a Path Tool Vertical Type on a Path Tool: Allows you to add vertical text on a path.
Lines and Grids Tools
  • Line Segment Tool Line Segment Tool (\): Creates a straight line in any direction.
  • Arc Tool Arc Tool: Creates ¼ arcs. (Settings can be modified).
  • Spiral Tool Spiral Tool: Just click and drag to create spirals. Whirls and size can be specified.
  • Rectangular Tool Rectangular Grid Tool: Click and drag to create a perfect grid. It will acquire your default colors.
  • Polar Grid Tool Polar Grid Tool: Consists of concentric circles and dividers. Good tool to create complex rotational patterns.
Shape Tools
  • Rectangle Tool Rectangle Tool (M): Helps to draw perfect rectangles or squares. To draw with a specific dimension click the art-board to open the Rectangle Options Dialog Box. To make a perfect square press SHIFT and draw.
  • Rounded Rectangle Tool Rounded Rectangle Tool: Creates a rectangle with rounded corners.
  • Ellipse Tool Ellipse Tool (L): Helps to draw perfect ovals. To make a perfect circle press SHIFT and draw.
  • Polygon Tool Polygon Tool: Click and drag to create a polygon (triangle, hexagon, pentagon, etc). Click on the art-board to specify its radius and sides.
  • Star Tool Star Tool: Creates 5 pointed stars.
  • Flare Tool Flare Tool: Creates rays and gives the illusion of lens flare.
These tools allow you to draw free-form lines and apply special strokes to them.
  • PaintBrush Tool Paintbrush Tool (B): Allows you to create a broad stroke. Special Brush styles can be applied.
Pencil Tools
  • Pencil Tool Pencil Tool (N): Also creates paths, but emulating the process of freehand.
  • Smooth Tool Smooth Tool: Smooth out curves created with the Pencil Tool.
  • Path Eraser Tool Path Eraser Tool: Erases portions of a path.
  • Blob Brush ToolBlob Brush Tool (SHIFT + B): Helps to draw and merge paths of the same color.
Eraser Tools
  • Eraser Tool Eraser Tool (SHIFT + E): Erases areas on paths and groups.
  • Scissor Tool Scissors Tool (C): Cuts paths into sections.
  •  Knife Tool: Slides an object into sections.


Allows us to change objects in a variety of ways such as re-size, rotate, skew, reflect, etc…
Transform Tools
Rotation Tools
  • Rotate Tool Rotate Tool (R): Rotates object on an axis.
  • Reflect Tool Reflect Tool (O): Flips or creates a duplicate of the original object.
  • Scale Tool Scale Tool (S): Allows you to change the size of an object.
  • Shear Tool Shear Tool: Stretches while turning the object.
  • Reshape ToolReshape Tool: Changes anchor points; consequently, changes the object.
Width Tools
  • Width Tool Width Tool (SHIFT + W): Allows you to adjust, move, duplicate, and delete the stroke width. Also, allows you to create and save a variable width stroke.
  • Warp Tool Warp Tool (SHIFT + R): Allows you to adjust and distort the edges of an object.
  • Twirl Tool Twirl Tool: Converts edges into spirals.
  • Pucker Tool Pucker Tool: Shrinks areas.
  • Bloat Tool Bloat Tool: Allows you to push the edge of an object to transform it into a circumference.
  • Scallop Tool Scallop Tool: Randomly, gives to an object arc-shaped outlines.
  • Crystallize Tool Crystallize Tool: Randomly, gives to an object spiked outlines.
  • Wrinkle Tool Wrinkle Tool: Randomly, gives to an object arc-shaped and spiked outlines.
  • Free Transform Tool Free Transform Tool (E): Allows you to move anchor points of an object. Good for perspective adjustments.
Shape Builder Tools
  • Shape Builder Tool Shape Builder Tool (SHIFT + M): Allows you to create, edit, combine and fill objects.
  • Live Paint Bucket Live Paint Bucket (K): Allows you to paint collection of paths. Note: Only colors Live Paint groups.
  • Live Paint Selection Tool Live Paint Selection Tool (SHIFT + L): Modifies attributes of a Color Live Paint group.
Perspective Grid Tool
  • Perspective Grid Tool Perspective Grid Tool (SHIFT + P): Provides you with a perspective guide line that can be manipulated into various different viewpoints to achieve depth.
  • Perspective Selection Tool Perspective Selection Tool (SHIFT + V): Permits you to move or scaling an object in perspective without altering its viewpoint.


Mesh Gradient Eyedropper and Blend Tools
  • Mesh Tool Mesh Tool (U): Applies a grid to an object in order to apply unusual gradients.
  • Gradient Tool Gradient Tool (G): Repaints an object that already is filled with a gradient.
Eyedropper and Measure Tools
  • Eyedropper Tool Eyedropper Tool (I): Picks up attributes.
  • Measure Tool Measure Tool: Gives you the dimensions of an area. Note: Measure data appears inside the INFO palette.
  • Blend Tool Blend Tool (W): Creates shapes between two previously drawn objects. Its settings are adjustable.


Symbol and Graph Tools
Symbol Tools
  • Symbol Sprayer Tool Symbol Sprayer Tool (SHIFT + S): Allows you to place a symbol or to create a set of symbols. Click the art-board to open the Symbolism Tools Options Dialog Box; there you can change the symbol’s diameter, intensity, density, etc.
  • Symbol Shifter Tool Symbol Shifter Tool: Allows you to move and change sets of symbol instances. Hold down SHIFT to bring the symbol instances forward. To send the symbol instances backward, hold down SHIFT + ALT.
  • Symbol Scruncher Tool Symbol Scruncher Tool: Allows you to move symbol instances together or apart. To push symbol instances apart hold down ALT.
  • Symbol Sizer Tool Symbol Sizer Tool: Allows you to decrease or increase the size and intensity of symbol instances.
  • Symbol Spinner Tool Symbol Spinner Tool: Allows you to rotate, spin, or orient symbol instances.
  • Symbol Stainer Tool Symbol Stainer Tool: Allows you to colorize symbol instances. To decrease the amount of colorization, hold down ALT. To maintain the tint intensity, hold down SHIFT.
  • Symbol Screener Tool Symbol Screener Tool: Allows you to adjust transparency of symbol instances. To decrease transparency. Hold down ALT.
  • Symbol Styler Tool Symbol Styler Tool: Allows you to apply or remove an style to symbols instances.
Graph Tools
This set of tools allows you to create graphs and charts with data.
Nine different options are available:
  • Column Graph Tool Column Graph Tool (J)
  • Stacked Column Graph Tool Stacked Column Graph Tool
  • Bar Graph Tool Bar Graph Tool
  • Stacked Bar Graph Tool Stacked Bar Graph Tool
  • Line Graph Tool Line Graph Tool
  • Area Graph Tool Area Graph Tool
  • Scatter Graph Tool Scatter Graph Tool
  • Pie Graph Tool Pie Graph Tool
  • Radar Graph Tool Radar Graph Tool


Art-Board Tools
  • Artboard Tool Artboard Tool (SHIFT + O): Allows you to create, re-size, and reposition different art-boards.
Slice Tools
  • Slice Tool Slice Tool (SHIFT + K): Divides an image into separate pieces for Web layout.
  • Slide Selection Tool Slice Selection Tool: Selects Web slices.
Hand and Print Tiling Tool
  • Hand Tool Hand Tool (H): Allows you to move the art-board window.
  • Print Tiling Tool Print Tiling Tool: Lets you to adjust the art-board in order to control the printable area.
  • Zoom Tool Zoom Tool (Z): Changes the art-board zoom level.


Fill and Stroke
Shows the current Fill and Stroke colors. (Right now we have Black color for Fill, and none color for Stroke).
  • Color (<)
  • Gradient (>)
  • None (/).
Draw Mode

(SHIFT + D to switch modes)
  • Draw Normal
  • Draw Behind
  • Draw Inside
Screen Mode
To change screen mode press: F
Screen modes:
  • Normal Screen Mode
  • Full Screen Mode with Menu Bar
  • Full Screen Mode
A lot of excellent and useful tools, huh? Now that you know what each tool does, get creative and start experimenting. Remember, “Practice is the best of all instructors”.