2007 SLP Curriculum Guide #19 Example #2
Curriculum Guide Index

We conclude the Photo Enhancement Guides series with this final example of two additional effects one can use to enhance photographs. The first effect is creating a 'watermark' or logo that can be embedded in the photograph. The second is a way to create a '3D' photo where a section of the original photo is made to look as if it is jumping out of the photograph.

WATER MARKS

True watermarks are digitally embedded information about the photograph including the author and other information. PSP has a demo of watermarks using this approach which requires ultimately purchasing the use of the software that will both embed the watermark and read watermarks. This approach can be used by anyone though often professional photographers use this system.

Another way in which we can use water marks is to create a transparent signature and/or logo which we add to the photograph as a top layer. This approach uses the Effects || 3D Effects || CUTOUT effect to create what looks like an embedded signature or logo. The basic steps are to create two layers, one which sets the darker (usually black) shadow and one which sets the lighter (usually white) shadow.

Signature

  1. Using the Text Tool set to 'selections' create your signature using a large font. Then write your signature (I used 'Prof').
  2. Make sure the selection around the text is simple. One might need to have the text background color showing. Then use Selections || Select All, Selections || Float, and Selections || Defloat and make sure the background text color is then deleted.
  3. Select a new top layer and use Effects || 3D Effects || Cutout.
  4. Set the color to either black and set the vertical and horizontal options to either +1 or +2. Set opacity for black to 100 and blur to no more than 5.
  5. Apply
  6. Create a new layer and again use 'Cutout' only this time use White as the color and set the horizontal and vertical options to a minus number (using no more than -2 often -1). Set opacity to somewhere around 60 and blur to somewhere less than 10. Apply.
  7. Now look at the result and decide if you need to lower the opacity of the layers. Once your have the look you want Merge just the two cutout layers.
  8. Use the MOVE (or PICK [deform] TOOL and position the signature where you want it to show in the photograph.

Logo

Either draw a logo or use one you have. I used the PSPUG logo as a black/white (greyscale) logo.
  1. Decide if you want to use a colored logo or a black/white logo.
  2. Set a selection around the logo using the approach given above using Selections > Select All, Float, Defloat.
  3. You might need to enlarge the selection by 1 or 2 pixels using Selections || Modify || Expand.
  4. Then in two additional layers create a cutout of black and white as described above.
  5. Again, lower the opacity of the layers as needed to blend the logo into the photograph.

A 3D Effect

A very interesting and fun approach to creating interesting photographic effects is to create one that looks like it had an object moving out of the photograph. There are various looks one can create using this approach. The basics are as follows.
  1. First, determine what object you want to appear in a 3D look.
  2. Also determine first what direction for the object to appear to be moving. Some photographs will best be set to the left or set to right, perhaps up, maybe down.
  3. Next, create a selection around the object using the Selection Tool either an oval shape or freehand. Once you have the selection wanted you might feather it by around a value of 2 (Selections || Modify || Inside/Outside Feather).
  4. Copy the selection as a new image on a transparent background.
  5. Now, we need to deform the original photograph. I find using the Pick (Deform) Tool as one of the best for this exercise:
    • From the determination of direction grab the top or bottom node of the side to deform (I used the Right Side of my illustration).
    • Using the Control Key and drag toward each other. (If using the top node drag down.)
    • Next grab the middle node of that same side and drag toward the opposite side. Using visual appearance drag until you have a perspective you like.
    • You can then drag a corner using the Control and Shift keys together to further deform the photograph to create other deformations such as a more skewed photo, etc. (Just experiment to learn how best to deform a photo to your liking.)
  6. At this point you can move that layer if you choose to center it or position it where you would like. You can always change the position at any point.
  7. Now or at the end you can create another layer, making it lower or below the deformed photograph layer and create a new background.
  8. Creating the 3D Appearance.
    • Make sure the deformed photo layer is active.
    • Copy the object you created above
    • Paste it as a new layer just above the deform layer (Crtl + L).
    • Using the move (or pick) tool, position the pasted object so it covers the object on the deform layer.
    • The step of moving the object takes a bit of trial and error until you have it positioned in a way that allows it to look like a 3D object.
    • You might need to change the size of the object slightly and you might need to enhance it a bit using the clone tool or other retouch tools.
    • You could also enhance the object using any of the PSP features discussed in earlier guides.
One you experiment with this 3D approach and use it on different photographs you will gain the experience of how to use this approach to create some very interesting and neat photographic presentations.

ILLUSTRATIONS

This photograph is one of myself taken by my brother. In and of itself it is not too bad of a photograph though there are areas such as on my forehead that are reflecting the light from the window. I also thought this photograph might be fun to use in creating a 3D photograph.
  1. I first used the Auto Photo Fix to both brighten and slightly change the sharpness.
  2. I then used another effect, Adjust || Softness || Soft Focus and played with the presets until I chose 'Dream'. The Soft Focus filter is a very neat filter in PSP as it can change the presentation of the photograph dramatically by setting various halos and other softening features.
  3. I finally drew an oval selection over myself as the object, feather it ( Selections || Modify || Inside/Outside Feather, and set the feathering to around 30.
  4. Then I inverted the selection and used the Radial Blur (zoom) (Adjust || Blur || Radial Blur) to blur all areas other than myself.
I set a mask for the photograph. Then I created a very low sized frame using the Bevel and changed the color for the mask to a dark grey. I also had to move the mask before I used the bevel to get the photograph centered correctly and then cropped it before using the Bevel. I also did a little touch up on the beard using the clone tool and softened the shiny areas on the forehead using the Soften retouch tool. I then added my signature and a PSPUG logo to the photograph as described above. Thus, this illustration is the first and could be used at this point as a finished photograph. The 3D effect was created by first deforming the final photograph using the Pick (deform) tool. Having copied the figure, I pasted it as a new layer over the deformed layer and used the move tool to position the object. I then added a textured background. Finally I used the clone tool to create the right part of the object (my shirt, suspender and arm).

FINAL COMMENTS

This guide concludes the photographic enhancement and effects guides. Take time to explore these approaches using the tools and features and options. Don't try to learn it all in a short period of time because there are just too many ways to enhance photographs.

Experiment, try things out, and just have fun.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

  1. When completing a tutorial or series of tutorials, and having placed them upon your web page, post in the SLP Forum your completed work using this layout:
    • Name or Screen Name.
    • Web Site URL.
    • Version of PSP using.
    • List of Tutorials completed.
  2. Post your Work:
    • List what you did, feature, options used, values.
    • Indicate steps taken and results.
    • Indicate things you found interesting, worthwhile and any other comments.
  3. Comment on any particular techniques you used or discovered, any particular results you found perhaps by accident and any ideas you have for creating a particular result.
  4. Post any questions and comments in the SLP Forum.
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