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Shoot and Edit: Week 11 - Flowers EDIT - Ramblings and Photos

March 24, 2011
Shoot and Edit: Week 11 – Flowers EDIT
Welcome to the 11th week of Shoot and Edit: Part 2. Click HERE for all the details and upcoming prompts/themes. 

This week’s theme or prompt was to show us one “flower” SOOC shot (this was just a suggestion, you can show us any SOOC shot). Hopefully you linked up with Jill’s blog earlier this week.

Each Thursday, I will take my SOOC shot and provide some basic editing tips (I will try to keep it basic and work my way up). You can then try these tips on your own photos and link up here – linky will now be open THROUGH SUNDAY. If you’d prefer, can simply share your own edit and show us what you did to achieve the look. We want this challenge to be a learning experience, so feel free to teach us something new too! Also, it does not matter what editing program you use. Although I tend to work within Adobe CS5 (Photoshop), Photoshop Elements and Adobe Camera Raw…it does not mean that you have to use the exact same program. I hope you’ll be able to take the concepts and apply them in the program you feel most comfortable using.

Once again, here is the first of my SOOC shots:
Flower SOOC RS
Building on what we’ve learned in the past tenweeks (Week 1: Edit, Week 2: Edit, Week 3A, Week 3B, Week 4: Edit, Week 5: Edit, Week 6: Edit, Week 7: Edit,  Week 8: Edit, Week 9: Edit and Week 10: Edit), I started this edit in Adobe Camera Raw and then ran my photo through my typical clean processing steps in Adobe CS5. It’s been a while since we’ve covered basic processing, so I thought I’d share my ACR edits today: 
Spring Flower ACR
As I’ve said before, my hope is that at this point in our lessons, you have gotten really comfortable with clean processing in whatever editing program you use (Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, Picnik, Picassa, etc). As your SOOC shots continue to improve, you’ll need to do less and less processing (unless you enjoy creative editing – I won’t remove that from you because I enjoy editing way too much).
ACR Adjustment
In a lot of cases, an Adobe Camera Raw (ACR or Lightroom) adjustments is all you want to mess with (that is, if you’re shooting RAW). However, I find that I continuously use the same steps for a clean finish before applying any other actions. This week, I thought you might enjoy those steps in a neatly packaged action I call “Nice & Easy.”
Nice and Easy Layers
In this action, I’ve included (from bottom to top): high pass filter with soft light blending mode, a levels adjustment, slight brightness/contrast adjustment, hue/saturation adjustment (pulling down your reds and yellows but adding just a little more saturation overall), a 12% warming filter (optional) and a 12% pink layer  with a soft light blending mode. Each of these layers is completely adjustable to your tastes so I hope you’ll enjoy using it! Here’s my photo after applying “Nice & Easy” with a few tweaks to my basic action (I increased the shadows just a touch):
IMG_3135 Nice and Easy RS
The adjustments are meant to be very subtle. The only thing I left out of the action, in an effort to be PS and PSE compatible, is your curves adjustment layer but you can certainly add make that adjustment on your own before running the action. Here’s a side-by-side comparision:
Flower Compare
To download “Nice & Easy,” click HERE! 

I hope I did that right – if you use Photoshop Elements, you’ll want to download both files in that folder (the atn and png files). With that said, let’s move on to an “artsy” edit. Remember my second SOOC shot?
Pink Flower SOOC RS
I’ve been drooling over Rosie at Leavesnbloom  photography’s beautiful “oil painting” photos for months. I recently asked her to share her secret and she was so gracious to share Pixel Bender (links to Flickr group – prepared to be amazed) with me. Click HERE to see more of Rosie’s work using Pixel Bender. 

I decided that “flower” week would be the perfect opportunity to test drive my new plugin…and if you’re interested in trying out this technique, you can download the plugins here:
Before we get straight into Pixel Bender, I thought we’d look at photoshop’s artsy filters . These can be found under Filter>Artistic (it’ll be toward the top of your drop down menu). You have a number of options as it relates to an artsy edit (you’ve often seen me use the photocopy option – I’m going to work on a tutorial for that adjustment soon). For purposes of today’s edit, let’s look at Dry Brush:
Dry Brush
With Photoshop filters, your option menu will vary depending on the function. “Dry Brush” gives you three options: Brush Size, Brush Detail and Texture. Ultimately, it’s just a matter of playing with the sliders until you see something you like and click okay. From that point, much like any of my edits, I recommend running your high pass filter with a soft light blending mode to bring out the details. You can make any other adjustments you see necessary from there. 

Now let’s look at Angled Strokes: 
Angled Strokes
“Angled Strokes” can actually be found under “Brush Strokes” rather than “Artistic.” Much like the previous filter, you have three options: Direction Balance, Stroke Length and Sharpness. Once again, you’ll play with the sliders until you’re satisfied with the image and click okay. You can then run the high pass filter with a soft light blending mode and any other adjustments that you feel are  necessary to your image. 
Pink Flower Artsy Compares
If I’m completely honest, after playing with Pixel Bender, I wasn’t at all satisfied with the artistic filters in Photoshop. However, these options can provide an interesting twist to your photos. I encourage you to download Pixel Bender though (I provided the links just a few scrolls up)…the effect is way too cool.
Pixel Bender Steps
For the best results: 
  • After running a clean edit on your photo, duplicate your photo and resize the photo (I resized to 1500 px wide) so that it’s a little easier to work with – Pixel Bender is an energy hog so it can take forever to make adjustments unless you’re working with a smaller photo. 
  • Once you’re working with a smaller photo, duplicate your background…then select Filter (at the top of your screen) and select Pixel Bender (it should be there if you downloaded and installed per the instructions). 
  • You’ll get a menu like the one above. Be sure to select “Oil Painting” to achieve the particular effect I used (the other effects are interesting, but like Rosie…I like oil painting the best). Play with the sliders until you’re satisfied.
  • Click okay to go back to Photoshop (or Elements unless you’re using the stand alone version). 
  • Create a duplicate of your Pixel Bender layer – apply a High Pass Filter with a Soft Light blending mode to make all of the adjustments pop. 
  • Perform any additional processing you feel are necessary (For example: I used a layer mask to reduce the effect and saturation from the background. After making those edits, I merged my layers and duplicated again to apply a screen layer and lowered the opacity.). Get creative and apply the lessons you’ve received over the past few weeks.
Here’s what your final edit will look like using Pixel Bender. Pretty cool, huh?
Pink Flower - Oil Painting RS
So, to recap our lesson, today I gave you my first PS action: “Nice & Easy” for clean  processing (to download “Nice & Easy,” click HERE!). We also discussed using artistic filters and Pixel Bender for a creative twist. For your edit, I would love to see you continuing using the lessons we’ve covered in the past ten weeks as well as apply today’s lesson. Also, tell me how you like the new action.

With that said, here’s a final look at my SOOC , Clean and Final image using Pixel Bender. I hope you found today’s lesson useful. If you have any questions or need more explanation, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Pink Flower Compare
I hope you all have a great Thursday and I look forward to seeing your edits!

By the way, I will be in a meeting in NYC today. Although I’ll have my blackberry on me, email and blog hopping will have to wait until tonight.


    Really pretty edits…love them all! Thanks for the action, it looks great! I’ve downloaded it and I’m goning to try it out real soon…and I’m also going to give Pixel Bender a try…it looks so awesome.

    They both turned out great! I really love the first photo.
    I will probably join in next week, now that I know what this is about.
    Thanks for the tips and the action!

    That pixel bender is too fun! Thanks for the link, Ash.

    Neat as!! I love the first picture and the edit you did and I know what you mean about Rosie’s pictures, they are amazing!

    So pretty, Ashley! Thanks for another great tutorial. And the action. And the tips about Pixel Bender! We’re headed to NYC tomorrow – maybe we’ll run into each other! :) OR – if you have a spare moment in between meetings send me an email!

    Gorgeous edits and I can’t wait to try this tutorial out on my floral shots – because I think they would make beautiful prints!

    I love the pixel bender. I will have to try it out with the photoshop on the mac for sure!

    I love the detail in that first edit. So very pretty and thanks for the download. I’ve drooling over the pixel bending as well and so glad you listed the steps. I haven’t tried it yet but definitely will. Thanks, Ashley!

    I love what did with your flowers! Very pretty!

    What a cool add on! I’m gonna have to give it a go!

    Your edits came out beautiful, as always! :)

    That pixel blender tool is so cool! I love what you did with it in your second photo!

    Love these. Your tutorials are always so great and easy to understand!

    A usual your work just makes me drool! and then to include my all time favorite blogger Rosie… What a way to start my Thursday!

    Hope your day ROCKS!

    Wow! You are absolutely amazing and insanely talented! I love your edits and I always learn something new from you every time I read your posts! Thanks so much for that great action! I love your pictures… they turned out great as always!! :)

    So beautiful Ashley! Love them all! Thanks for the great tutorial.

    Wow! Your edit on that pink flower is amazing! :)

    Beautiful edits. I really like the brush stroke edit, makes it look like a watercolor painting.

    Oh how I love that feature. Gorgeous edits- as usual!!

    Pixel bender looks cool – I’ll have to give it a whirl!

    That pixel blender is pretty amazing.

    I love your week 11 edit. Just pure and simple and perfect.

    I tried downloading the files for elements, but the png file wouldn’t download. And what do I do after I download it? Do I find the location and drag it somewhere to make it work? Sorry to bug you… just have no clue.

    Look at you, writing and sharing Actions. You go girl! Of course you know I’ll have to download it :) I love the brush strokes edit. I literally just learned yesterday how to work with it and wanted to play…but you beat me to it. LOVE it so much. It’s so…elegant.

    I love what you did with the pink flower….so cool!! I need to play around with more of those filters :) I did for my header (the camera was an actual shot that I used a filter on), but not on my regular photos. Will have to try it though because this looks like fun :)

    Yay for your own action! :D It worked great on my pic. :)

    That pixel bender is SO COOL! Looks amazing.

    very artsy edits.once again there is something I can`t use.. the blender does not work with elements 9!?

    anyway very pretty.

    I love your edits this week! That last photo with pixel bending looks like there’s a small fire igniting from within the flower – beautiful!

    Love your edits, yay for your own action! I am going to have to try it. Love the pink flower!

    pretty pretty pretty!!!

    Okay, I really love those edits. I’m really starting to pay attention to what you’re doing. And I’m downloading that action!!

    Wow! gotta love that Pixel Bender!

    Love the edits! So pretty! Wish I had PE.

    I love the action! Thank you so so much. :)


    Beautiful photos. I’m not sure how I feel about the Pixel Blender either. It’s a neat effect, but I think I prefer the clean edits a little more. :) Wonderful job!

    Gorgeous edits Ashley……and thank you for your action! I’m going to have to try it out!!!! Enjoy NYC!!!!!

    Each is so beautifully done Ashley!
    Wonderful work.

    Oh, can’t wait to get home and try out some of these! Thanks for the ideas and links.

    I couldn’t wait to see your edit this week and I think the tree paeony was just perfect for pixel bender and it’s lovely the way it has turned out.

    Thanks for the action – I’ve downloaded it and can’t wait to try it out. It certainly made your little flower pop.

    A big thankyou aswell for linking to my blog post – that means so much to me and such a compliment aswell.

    I agree with you on photoshops artsy filters – I don’t really like them either.


    Thanks for all you do and a Nice and Easy action? Just fabulous! Lovely photos!

    Just gorgeous!

    I really like the last edit, it looks like some painted it. So pretty!

    I love these edits, they do look like paintings and that first blossom is so pretty and delicate

    Ooh I am so excited for your action! I just downloaded it, can’t wait to play with it! Thanks!

    These are all stinking awesome I love the 3rd for the white flowers and the 2nd the last looks so neat almost on fire I like it! Now I must do mine I forgot ;-)!

    Thank you again for sharing yet another tutorial with us! I love the pixel bender edit – that is just too cool!

    Stunning edits! Thanks for the action Ashley. And I’m looking forward to playing with Pixel Bender this weekend.

    Love the first edit, so pretty, really made the whites pop.

    Great edits! Love the look of the pixel bender. Disappointed I can’t seem to find a compatible plugin for my version of Photoshop.

    Gorgeous edits, I love the Pixel Bender one!

    Really beautiful photos and edits!

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    Just used your action on a photo of my daughter and I love it. Thank you so much for sharing with us! Here’s a link to my blog post with a before and after. This will be such a HUGE time saver!

    Love your edits! And thank you for the free action! And the tutorial! Hope I get a chance to play with both real soon.

    WOW! That pixel blender version is absolutely stunning. Thank you so much for the inspiration. I absolutely love your blog. Thank you for teaching me new things every day. :)

    I’m hosting a new linkie over at my blog called Fabulous Friday. I’d love it if you could participate! The link is:


    WOW…this is beautiful Ashley! I have never done that in PS before…may have to give it a try (but I think I might suck at it!!!).

    oh wow that is AWESOME!! I must try this :D But which photo to edit… *thinks*

    What a dramatic transformation!

    An action! Cool! Love that first photo SOOC and you really made it come alive with the edit.

    The oil painting technique is really pretty!

    I just used your Nice & Easy action…LOVE it!! Many thanks for creating that for us! You picked the perfect image to use the pixel bender on…looks so creative. I am on CS3, and there doesn’t seem to be a plug in, but I still played with PS filter, just for the exercise. I have a silly question for you…what does ACR mean? I have not been able to figure that out!! Thanks Ashley :)

    Ashley, I did it! Hope to make you proud! Thank you so much for being so wonderful! :) HAVE A GREAT DAY!

    Fabulous photos and edits. I downloaded the action but have not used it yet. The pixel blender is probably a feature I will not be able to use as my Photoshop Shop is an older CS2 version. I downloaded the tool kit but it separated itself into three different files that I have no clue how to use. V

    The oil painting look is beautiful! I only saw your photo challenge today, but hope to learn alot. Just started using my new camera yesterday (this is all new territory for me) and posted some flower pictures. For my inexperience, the picnik.com editing program is so user friendly and fun. Thank you for sharing!

    How pretty is that last flower with the pixel blender… I have bookmarked this for when I get a program other than picnik. Oh yeah – and that big girl camera I dream about. :)