Mae La Plaza, Santiago de Cuba

There are several local markets in Santiago which consist of outdoor vendor stalls selling grains, fruit, vegetables, meat and chicken.  Everything is fresh and is sold with little or no packaging or refrigeration, including the meat.  I understand that the meat was slaughtered at 5am that morning and will be sold by noon.  I’m pretty sure the currency exchanged is the Cuban peso not the touristy CUC as 95% of the shoppers are Cuban.

I was intrigued by the monitored parking lot in the picture above that charged for parking spots out front.  The prices are listed under the “Servicio de Parqueo” sign on the wall.

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Mercado Plaza de la Revolución

Mercado Plaza de la Revolución is a marketplace located in Santiago de Cuba.  It is one of the most popular markets in Santiago with great prices and good selection of fruits, vegetables and meat.  It is also noted as a retail business and a commercial area.

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Freddy

One of the perks of the job is photographing handsome young men.  💕  I met Freddy through the Afro Cuban dance community several years ago.   In addition to dancing with the South Bay Ballet Company, Freddy dances Peruvian Folklore, On2 Salsa, Mambo, and just about everything in between.  I have to find the video of the Michael Jackson routine he and my bff, Hera, performed in.  Smart, talented, great dancer he needed promotional photos for a series of salsa  classes he’ll be teaching.  Hey, somebody’s got to do it, it may as well be me.  😎  It was a fun session as expected; I hope we get to work together again soon.

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Ahh, today’s obsession!  🙂

Apple

Here are some of my favorite shots from my shoot with Apple Ng.  Apple is a professional actor in TV, film and theater for more than a decade in Hong Kong. She recently moved to Los Angeles and graduated with honors with an Master degree in filmmaking. She is known for her amicable personality; and with her talent and experiences in front and behind the camera.  She’s ready to bask into the realm of movie making!

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Cutting out Hair using Channels

Today’s the day.  Let’s tackle the last couple of topics.  One of which is cutting out hair using channels.  The point of using channels is to get a good selection getting the most contrast between lights and darks .

Here’s the below image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.33.17 AM

  1. Open image in Photoshop.  Go to Channels panel and determine if Red, Blue or Green channel offer the most contrast between lights and darks.  I’ll use the Blue Channel.
  2. Make a copy of the Blue Channel by dragging it down to the Create new Channel Icon.
  3. Next Command, L on the active Blue Copy for Levels. OK.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.34.31 AM

  1. Adjust the lights and darks for a contrasty image.
  2. Turn channel into a selection with Command, Click of thumbnail of blue copy, get marching ants.
  3. Go to Layers and Create Layer Mask.
  4. Image, Adjustments, Invert to invert layer
  5. Option, click Layer mask and paint white on mask for everything you want to see.
  6. Add clipping mask (new layer) set to darken to either paint a sample color of hair on frizzies or clone hair frizzies.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.39.02 AM7.  Last add new background layer.  And clean up your mask where needed.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.32.03 AM

 

Smart Objects in Photoshop

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  These posts are study aids to get me through this exam.

I wish I have paid a bit more attention to the lecture on Smart Objects, but here’s my recollection.

Smart Objects preserve an image’s source content with all its original characteristics, enabling you to perform nondestructive editing to the layer.  Found that definition on the web so it must be true.  🙂

A RAW file and a layered document can be contained in a Smart Object.  To access all the layers within the Smart Object, double click on the smart object layer in the layer palette.

What’s fun or interesting is that:

  •  On Smart Objects you can perform nondestructive transforms e.g. scale, rotate, warp without losing original image data or quality because transforms don’t affect the original data.
  • You can link SOs such that changes to the SO will effect other occurrences of the image.  (Not shown here)
  • Filters you place on SOs are retained and able to be edited and blended.  And you can put masks on your filters.
  • Smart Objects are the ideal solution when you are working with projects that will change a lot, e.g. layouts.
  1. To create a Smart Object you can Open as Smart Object Command or simply click on the layer, Layer->Smart Object->Convert to Smart Object like I’ve done here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 7.15.19 PM

Then all the transforming you do to the image will not effect the quality of the image.  Believe me.  🙂

When I add filters like Blur, Lens Flare, and Noise they are noted as effects under the Smart Object layer pictured below:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 7.19.02 PM

Note in the screen shot above the tiny little Smart Object indicator in the bottom right corner of the Smart Object Layer.  And see the list of filters now called Smart Filters that are underneath the Smart Object.  These can be fine tuned by double clicking and adjusting their options.  You can also effect the blending mode between the filters and mask their effect on the image.  For example:  if you paint black on the mask the filters will not effect that part of the image.  In the banner image I painted black on the filter mask to remove the smart filters from the subject’s face.

The difference between Smart Objects and regular layers is that transformations would have totally destroyed the original image.  And if you wanted to change the settings of the filters you’d have to Undo and start over.

Whew!

 

 

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

Below is a list of Photoshop keyboard shortcuts I really use.  I hope to expand this further.

Action Keystroke Combination
Duplicate Layer Command, J
New Layer Shift, Command, N
Create Clipping Mask Option, Click line between layers
Fill Dialog Box Shift, Function, F5
Fill with Foreground color Option, Delete
Fill with Background color Command, Delete
Hide Marching Ants Command, H
Deselect Selection Command, D
Recall Selection Command, Shift, D
Set default Background & Foreground colors D
Switch Background & Foreground colors X
Show Black & White Mask Option, click on mask
Size Images on Screen Command 0, Command -, Command +
Size Brushes [,  ]
Fade Clone Stamp & Healing Brush Command, Shift, F
Crop C
Eyedropper I
Healing Brush J
Paint P
 Clone Stamp S
 Eraser E
 Pen P
 Text T
 Group Layers Command G
 Merger all Layers into One Layer or Stamp Visible (retain layer structure)  SOCE Shift, Option, Command, E
Cycles through hidden tools   Shift any tool –  J, C, I, S, T, P
 Selects all layers  Command, Option, A
 Open the layers panel  Function F7
Turn off every layer but one Option click the eyeball

 

Removing Shadows in PS

Next topic is Matching Color and/or Removing Shadows using the Info Palette and Curves.

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert, teacher or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn the concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  These posts are study aids to get me through this exam.

I love this picture I took of the very handsome John Robinson in Venice, CA.  But he’s too close to the wall casting this ridiculous dark shadow.  My bad!  Here’s the before image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 12.53.44 PM

To remove the shadow and match the wall color I did the following:

  1. Command J to duplicate background layer.
  2. P, Use pen tool to path out shadow. Double click ‘work path’  to name & save the path.  Convert path to selection and feather it.
  3. I, Use Color Sampler Tool (3rd down of Color Picker tool or eye dropper).  In tools options bar of color Sample Tool choose 3×3 average.
  4. Window->Open to open Info palette.
  5. Drop 2 points in shadow and 2 points on non-shadow wall.
  6. Add Curves Adjustment Layer. Make sure Info Palette and Curves adjustment palette are visible.  You will need both.
  7. Take finger icon from curves adjustment palette and put it on point #1. This indicates where it lies on the curve.
  8. Go to Red Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel 🙂 ) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  9. Go to Green Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel :-)) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  10. Go to Blue Channel in the Curves Dialog Box (not channels panel :-)) and change the value to the numerical value in the Info Palette for point #2 by dragging the curve up or down.  You’ll see the values change.
  11. The shadow area should now match the wall, you may need to add a blank layer above the Curves layer and heal and/or clone to do touch ups
  12. Shift, command, option, E merges layers without flattening them. Helpful for a safety layer and do some tidying up with perhaps a bit of delicate cloning.  (Reminder to myself)

Here’s the workspace and file structure:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.23.29 PM

And after a bit of tidying up the shadow is hardly visible.  🙂

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Studying for PS final

I’ve found it impossible to blog this semester, shoot and study.  However, since the semester is winding down and I’m studying for finals I thought what better idea than to blog my studying.  I don’t know if people do that, but what the heck.  I’ll begin with total disclaimers:  I am by no means a PS guru, expert or anything of the sort.  I’m a student trying to learn the concepts motivated by my Photoshop final next week.  So here goes:

First, I’ll tackle the concept of Vanishing Point Retouching.

Here’s an image of an African boy peeking out a barred door I shot earlier this year in Soweto, is a township of the city of Johannesburg, South Africa.  Using the Vanishing Point filter I added the text “Soweto 2106” to wall in the proper perspective.

Here’s the before image:

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 10.58.29 AM

To add the text I performed the following steps:

  1.  Open the image in Photoshop
  2. Command J to duplicate the layer
  3. Used Text Tool to create text “Soweto 2016”.  It goes on separate layer.
  4. Command clicked thumbnail of text to select it; then Command C to copy it to the clipboard.
  5. Shift, Command, N to create a new layer
  6. Select Filter, Vanishing Point.  A Vanishing Point Window appears and I used the create tool to outline the part of the wall I want the text to go into.  It creates a grid.  Careful that only blue grids are accurate outlines.
  7. Command, C to copy in text on the vanishing point layer.  Drag the text into the grid.  I found that I had to minimize my text considerably to fit.  Did I mention that I’m a student?  🙂
  8. Click OK and there you have it.  Text on the wall in the correct perspective.

Here’s PS window with layer structure.  I’m certain with more practice my steps would be more concise.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 10.23.49 AM

Then I got carried away and decided to change the stucco wall to crazy red bricks.  I didn’t take the time to size the bricks as I have 7 more topics to cover.  The Vanishing Point Filter also works when you have to clone objects on a wall or extend a wall/image and keep the same perspective.  Cheers!

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 10.47.00 AM

Mucho credit to Photoshop Tutorials by Phlearn:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHRDv1Q7hmU