Playing with the Distortion Filter

Distorted Flower

The NAPP community forums are a great place to challenge yourself both photographically and graphically with things like daily monthly and weekly challenges.  This last week I was reminded of the Distortion filter in Photoshop and decided to take some time as a few ideas sprung to mind.  I posted the results and was asked pretty shortly thereafter what my post production was to yield the effect.  To that end, of course, decided it would make for some good content to share here as well.  So, here’s what you can do with various distortion filters in Photoshop!

The result:

Distorted Flower

The original:

Original Flower

The processing:

I started first with some flowers from the local florist shop (Tracy enjoyed that part!).  Once I got them home and in a vase for her I went to town with my Sigma 70mm Macro!  My camera settings for most shots were in this area:  f2.8, Tv 90, ISO 1250.  After shooting, it was time to import into Lightroom (where I do all my image management from).  Once in LR, the post production began!

Exp +0.87
Clarity +50
Vibrance +15
Saturation +15
Sharpening Amount +95
Luminance +78

I then exported to Photoshop to take some creative license with the distortion filters.  Inside of PS (I am currently using CS5 but these filters are available pretty far back into the CS family), I dabbled with fresco, film grain, polar coordinates, and others, before finally choosing Ocean Ripple:

Ocean Ripple

I believe my settings on the filter were 10 and 9 – but forgot to make note of those for here, so apologies in advance! 🙂  Then, to wrap things up, I saved back to Lightroom, cropped to 5×4 (10×8) aspect ratio and added a hint of vignette to get the final result you saw at the beginning here.

There’s lots of other options to inspire the creative eye though.  Here’s another shot taken to a darker place:

Distorted Moon

Can you guess which filter(s) were used here?  What other filters have made their way into your creative post production – when it comes to creative design inside Photoshop, there really is no limit to what you can achieve! Even taking things for a spin in Photoshop Touch is easy enough (it only costs like $10 and now available on the iPad2 from what I understand) to get the juices flowing.  Share your own thoughts, images, and feedback in the comments!  Lots more coming this week too, so hang on to your seat belts!

Lightroom 4 Beta – 5 Tips!

Lightroom 4 Beta

While I may not have access to the beta stuff like the bigger players in the photo industry, I have been toiling through it as I have time since it’s release a short while ago.  I’ve been working hard at putting together a nice repository of videos and tutorials to help answer some of the more common questions people are having about this new software.

There are pros, and there are cons to the new software.  I’ve already talked about a couple of them, and the videos are coming – I promise!  (I know, famous last words, right? 🙂  )  But, while I continue to pound away at some new videos that feature some of the best tricks and secrets to deciding whether LR4 is right for you (and how best to leverage it into your existing work flow), thought that sharing a few nuggets on using it might be in order.

So, without a lot of fancy intros, music, teasers, or any of that other rigamarole, here are 5 quick secrets that anyone using the beta edition of LR4 simply must know:

  1. When you’re in Soft Proof mode, the default background your photo appears on is called Paper White, but you can change this fairly easily!  Simply right-click anywhere outside the edge of your photo and choose a different background to view your images on!
  2. When you Export photos,  there are some new metadata options to include (or not include) various types of info that get shared when you share your photos online.
  3. Previously, you were unable to move multiple folders (in the Folders panel) from one drive to another. So if you had 10 folders you wanted to move you had to do them one at a time. Now you can shift-click to select multiple folders and move them if you need.
  4. Hiding less frequently used modules is easier.  Simply right-click on the Module Picker (along the top right of your Lightroom window), and choose which modules to exclude modules that you simply don’t use.
  5. Emailing photos natively became a reality in LR4 – simply navigate to the file menu and select the option to “Email Photo” (the kb shortcut is Shift+CMD+M).

Like these?  Have you started using LR4 yet?  What are your favorite features?  Got any “must-haves” you’d like to share?  Sound off in the comments section!