Filters and Smart Objects


Lesson Info

Alien Skin Software Processing

I'm going to talk to you about another editing software, and this gets a little.... Complimentary. Or competitive, let's just say. Alien Skin has a image editing processing software just like Camera Raw, and it's called "Exposure X3." It's definitely worth investigating, it... Do you know the Snapbar we just looked at, with all those choices? Alrite, Exposure 3 is gonna be the same. So, I would definitely have you investigate it as an image processing software. Right now, how we're gonna look at it is as adding imaging effects. But please feel free to look at it as processing software as well. We're gonna look at it for overlay frames, lighting effects, and texture. And I really, really, really, really like this. You would want to consider this very similar to yeah, to Camera Raw, only it's.. I'm gonna say something I hope not's too controversial. I'm gonna say that Camera Raw, I mean Exposure 3, excuse me, if kind of like Camera Raw plus Topaz Filters. Cause it's got built in features...

, again, free trial. Look at this. We're gonna close this. Please try the free trial, it's great. It's great, you can give it a go. Alrite. Ready for the "don't panic" conversation? Don't panic. There's too many choices. We understand this. There are too many choices. There is black and white film choices. There's low contrast choices. There's, oh my sweet jesus. Look at all these black and...oh infrared. Oh my gosh, do you guys see this? Look what's happening. When you are in Exposure, if you click over the preset, they'll show them to you. So you don't.. Okay, we just stand over here, we're calm, we're in the settings. There are a gazillion... I have to tell you, in all honesty, I opened this up and I was like "oh!" And then I went, oh no, I can be calm because I don't actually have to click on anything. I can just slide my cursor over. I really really really, super dig their settings menu. That you can actually go through and just go over here and look. Is it kind of like shopping before you buy? Can we say that? It is kind of like shopping before you buy, isn't it? There's brightness, there's bokeh look at this. Their bokeh is kind of like this blurring, do you see that? Like it's got a motiony blur to it. Now why would someone like me care about something like this? Someone like me cares an awful lot about this, because I do comp work. And when you do comp work or designing work for films, you have to come up with, at minimum, three a day. So you're compositing, you're coming up with ideas, and then sometimes you can get the composite right, but then the effects feel crazy. And, I mean, I'm pretty decent around photoshop, I feel fairly comfortable. But it can get a little overwhelming to come up with new and different ideas. And what I like about this is, that you can try out different ideas quickly and give them to your clients. And I'm just going to quit out of this for one second. I'm just gonna discard changes and open this up again. So what it allows me to do, is I can come in here, and I can actually make a bunch of changes, send out a file to a client in like ten minutes. I mean, did you see how many clicked through? That was nothing. And you can come up with your required 3, maybe 10, in five minutes, and it's so easy. And I wanna show you a few, in particular, things that I find really handy about this particular program. Is they have this border. Can you see that border turning off and on? They have a gazillion borders in here and I think I can say, safely, a gazillion borders. You can click on the icon and see them. They have Damaged, they have Brushed Paper, they have Film, they have Grain. You can use this.. I think this icon here is really handy. Look at this cycle through them. You can go through the sides here. You can flip them. Do you see what this icon is doing here? It's flipping the border up or down. Ooh do I want a light border? Do I want a dark border? When you have the white borders, It will give you black or white. When you have a warm border, it gives you cool or warm. Do you see that? It's just flipping through this. So you can turn this off and on. In addition to the overlays, who was it that was talking about mixtures all morning? Would that have been me? Yes, that would have been me. (laughter) Well, what do you see here? Look at all these lighting effects. Feel free to say at any point, sweet jesus, Mary, mother of god, how is a girl supposed to choose? There's lots of choices here. Now again, we're in the toothpaste aisle, right? Don't panic, it's all fine, turn them off and on, take your time. And then the textures. Uh. Look at these textures. I'm just clicking on that icon and scrolling through, or scroll through this way. Oh, I want a light texture, Oh, I want a dark texture. Do you know what? I want a very opaque texture. I want to zoom in on the texture. I'm not sure if you guys can see this, I'm gonna put something a little more crazy. Can you guys see this on this screen? Can you see the texture? I'm not sure if this is previewing well. Either way, did I mention free trial? Free trial. You guys can check this out, seriously, all this is in one package. All of this in one package. Now, I do need to do a slight buyer beware, anytime you use a product like this, like Topaz, you need to be aware that your it's file dependent. It's resolution dependent. These are not... This is not mathematical code here. This is actual pixel-based file. I have to say my business are definitely high res enough, so unless you're doing something massive, but you can't change the resolution of that. That is the size that it is. And you can't reload your own. What else can I say about this? Overlays, vignettes. And then, did I say it was an image processor? Do you remember we just looked at Raw? All the same stuff is in here. All of it. Now, this is not quite as popular as Raw, so if you're working with clients and working with photographers, you're not going to necessarily have the same... flexibility between the two of you. And what I mean by that is if you're working with someone they might not know how to use that. Now do you care? I don't know. If I'm working with Simon, does he have this program? I don't know, you need to check. So it's just not quite as popular. Perhaps it will get as popular. That's something to consider. I just want to show you a couple little changes I made, and again, I do what to remind you, I work in theater entertainment industry where we have to come up with a bunch of comps and I'll do that comp and I'm like, oh, is that okay? Well I can also send that as a variation. That took me 2 minutes. Two minutes to say, "oh, how bout that?" It's just a lens flare and some texture. We talked about the grain earlier today. We talked about adding grain. Okay. And I'm gonna show you one more. It's gonna be chicken lady. I really love the chicken lady. And again, it's just a frame with some lighting effects. Two minutes. Two minutes to do this, it's nothing. So it's really a handy tool. Where I think you're gonna have some challenges is, there's so many choices. Okay? So many choices. Quick question online. Before we move on, this is from Beats435, who said, "Can you explain what you mean when you say these are resolution dependent, when you're talking about Alien Skin textures?" Yes. Okay, so when you take a photograph, if you use your Iphone, if you use a camera, use whatever, your file is.. Whatever size your file comes in as.. You're a photographer, you take a file. Those textures, someone made those textures. Someone created a pixel-based file. It is what it is. There is no changing that. So what happens is, if you bring a file, a texture, that is this big, into a large file and it gets blurry, well that's what you get. So I'm gonna tell a little story without naming any names. There is a company that I work for that does entertainment stuff. A lot of it. And they did a bunch of what we call character cells for movies. So you know when you have an individual character and you have a different poster for each one. They are amazing. They use Topaz Filters, which are lovely, they look great. They are resolution dependent. So they comped them up at a small size, probably a 15x20 at 150 dpi. Well we have to do buildings. And bus shelters. So a bus shelter is 60x70? No 40x70, I think. It's huge. Plus, we're doing the side of the sunset wall, that kind of thing. Those Topaz Filters don't go that big. And if you build that file and you apply that texture that big, it looks completely different. It's not that that texture or that filter is invalid, it's totally valid. It's that the artist didn't realize you can't res that up. You can't take that large file, and put that same texture on it, and have it look the same. So that's what I mean by resolution independent. I'm going to say for your average bearer, it's not gonna matter. And work around is sharpening. You can sharpen. But you just need to know that in advance. So, if you have resolution issues and you're designing small and your final project is gonna be big and you're gonna use one of these products, which are awesome and I highly recommend it, do it large. Do you composite, perhaps, small. Res up a flat file. And apply your texture to that. And that will handle the size issue. So on any of these, if I have like a 10 gig composite file, I am not going to Exposure 3 and making a smart object of those 10 gig layers and putting this on there. No way. I am saving a flat file off, and putting this texture on and saving it as a separate layer.

Learn how filters and smart objects can enhance your images when you incorporate them into your retouching workflow. Make adjustments to your file without overwriting your original image. Professional high-end retoucher Lisa Carney will show you the many tools within filters and how to use them to improve and speed up your post-processing workflow. You’ll learn about:

  • Transforming edit functions
  • Camera Raw Techniques
  • Understanding Liquify
  • Blur and distort techniques
  • Adding textures and stylized looks
  • Incorporating third party plugins into Photoshop® like Alien Skin Software and Nik

Gain more control over your portraits or product retouching by understanding and incorporating filters and smart objects.



  • This is one of the best courses I have taken on Creative Live. Just amazing. This is geared towards intermediate to advanced Photoshop users. So happy to see an advanced class!! Very happy to see Alien Skin being used as a part of this course. Highly recommend this course.
  • I can't say enough about this class. I am looking forward to watching this again and applying all I have learned at my leisure. Lisa Carney is am amazing instructor and I loved Simon as well, they did an awesome job! Just the handouts alone are well worth the price of the class. Thanks for another class filled with excellent content and lots of laughter. I own all of her classes and will certainly purchase any other's she instructs. Way to go Lisa! Well done and Exceptional!
  • Great class presented in a way that keeps your attention. This class is packed full of fun ideas with a ton of great take-aways for your 'bag of tricks! I would recommend this class 100%!