Introduction to Creative Effects
Now we're talking about custom creative effects. So it's all coming together now. We've talked about a lot of stuff, and we're getting into one of my favorite things, which is the workflow portion of our series that we're doing here. And this is where we get to jump in and take, just, put all the basic, beginning stuff to the side for a little bit, breathe a little bit, and allow our creative energies to flow. Creating your own custom effects, this is really important. We get to combine layers, layer masks, blend if, opacity fill, filters, adjustment layers, and, if we wanted to, even incorporate actions with all of this. So we're combining all this stuff that we have talked about to create things that make us unique in our workflow. And I have to talk about that uniqueness for a second here. I have this thing that I call tone, color, and artistic effects as a workflow. And this is exactly how my workflow starts every single time. You're going to get sick of this, because we're gonna t...
alk about it quite a bit over the next four lessons after this. Tone is just getting, making sure your shadows, your highlights, your mid-tones, all jive well. Color is making sure that your colors look good when they're on that canvas, that reds look like reds, yellows look like yellows, and maybe, you maybe adjust some tonal contrast in those colors. But artistic effects, this is where you come out. This is where you become unique. Anyone can do these things; anyone can do that. A trained technician of photos can do this. But this part right here, this is you. This is where your style lives. Now just to take a little aside here, I used to do this thing called an HDR concert on my website called Everyday HDR. And what the HDR concert was is this is where I would take a bracketed series of images, I would put them into a zip file, I'd post them on my website, and anybody who wanted to process them could download them, send me their version, and I would compile a post of all the people who built an HDR photograph from the series of bracketed images. It was probably around, I stopped doing this probably around 2015 or so. Well, what happened was, no matter who got those bracketed photos, everyone would come back with a wildly different image. And HDR is one of those things where, yeah, we could all take a little turn for the worst on some of those things, but they were really good. It was just really good works of art that I think the HDR process would force people more into this direction than into just this direction. And every one of those images, if it was from Germany, France, Italy, America, Wisconsin, no matter where that thing came from, they all had their own unique artistic expression in there. Some of those individuals would, they participated in every one of those HDR concerts that I did. I think I did like 15 of them. And what you saw from that was I could look at them without even knowing who the individual was, I'd be like, "That's a Jim, that's a Matt, that's a Blake," and I could see their artistic approach coming through in that image. This stuff anyone can do. This stuff is where I want you to start heading towards now. I don't care who you think you are as a photographer, you are an artist first, okay? I have a t-shirt that I wear. It says, "Hello, my name is artist. I am a photographer." (audience members giggle) As it's mind-boggling stuff, because if you think of yourself as, "Oh, I'm just a photographer," I hear that all the time, "Oh, I'm just a photographer." Really? Then that's all you ever will be. I am an artist first, and then I'm a photographer. That lets me play in this artistic realm a lot and have a lot of fun, and be a little bit more free with my creative expression. This is what's helped me develop a style. This is what's separated my work from all the other people. This would be an image that I would say tone and color-wise, is done. It's in the inside of the Notre Dame. Gotta love that 10 millimeter lens. But, in the inside of the Notre Dame, this is what I would say is technically probably good on tone and color. And I could've stopped there, but the next transition was my artistic effect, changing that image just so slightly to have my style and my unique flare added to that. Subtle, but it's a big difference. If you saw these, actually looking at them on a computer screen, you'd be like, like I'm looking at it here, I'm like, "Oh man, that is wildly different." Here's another image. This is what I would say probably technically, this is another one from Grinter's Farm, technically, for tone and color it's probably pretty good. But look what happens when I put my artistic flare on it. That's uniquely and innately me. Nobody else can create this style image in this exact same way, and I know that because all of this was actually done in Adobe Camera Raw. But putting radial filters here to pop this one. Put a radial filter here to pop this one. Drop a graduated filter here to pop the background. All of those adjustments that you make, think about the exponential amount of possibilities there are when you start combining all those things together. But this is uniquely me, and I'm the only one who could've done this to this photograph. If I gave you these bracketed photos and had you work on this, you're gonna come up with something completely different that's uniquely you and that only you can create. So what we're gonna do in this segment is we're just gonna take a look at all the things that we've talked about so far and start looking at ways that we can combine adjustment layers together to create our own artistic styles. Now we've talked about filters, so this is kind of gonna feel a little bit like what we did with filters, but we're not really gonna be using that many filters for this. We're really gonna be using adjustment layers, and, expanding the possibilities of those adjustment layers. 'Cause a gradient map can do so much. A regular gradient can do so much, but it can only do that much if you know all the things you need to do to make it do that to develop your unique style. So let's go ahead and jump into Photoshop and get started with our first creative effect.