Monday, June 8, 2009

Reducing the appearance of glare in dark areas with Contrast/Brightness


(Final edited image: Parrot Tulips, R. Garriott, oil, 24"x24")

The best way to avoid having to deal with glare in photo editing is to avoid it when photographing. Try some of the photo suggestions posted here to eliminate or reduce this issue.

Occasionally, though, you'll be in a hurry, photograph without checking, the painting goes out the door, gets sold... and the only record you have is a photo with glare-- as in this sample in the tutorial below. For those instances, here's a method that might help minimize the effect of glare a bit.

The Magic Wand Tool


With the Magic Wand tool, select the areas of glare that are most noticeable. (As in past tutorials, I've included a second 'control' image to the right, to help show the change.) In this case, it's the upper and left background. Select 'contiguous' on the upper toolbar to select only pixels that touch each other (otherwise it will select pixels all over the image). You can adjust the tolerance as needed; 32 is the default, it is set at 20 here. You'll see a dotted line around the area as you select it. To select more area at the same time, hold down your shift key while continuing to click on areas with the Magic Wand.

In the top toolbar, choose Image/Image Adjustment/Brightness-contrast. To darken, move the brightness pointer to the left. In this case I've reduced the brightness by -14. This allows the background to blend in with the dark areas at bottom and left with no noticeable line.

Release the selected area, and you'll have your result. If you get a 'line' or the fix doesn't blend in smoothly, undo (Ctrl+Z), try again, and adjust your increments.


If the glare covers a large portion and is noticeable over areas of light and dark, I would suggest rephotographing as a first step.
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Here's one more little tip that may help you-- when you use the Magic Wand in an image with mixed shades, it may not pick up all the pixels in an area. So while holding down the Shift Key, click the Magic Wand a few times, moving around to pick up more pixels, and then if you need to pick up strays, switch to the 'Lasso' tool (while still holding down the Shift key)-- it's right next to the Magic Wand. Move your mouse in a loop around the stray pixels, and then make your adjustment with Brightness/Contrast or Levels.
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I hope you find this tip useful! Happy photo editing!
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Monday, June 1, 2009

Using Templates to Set Up Business cards, postcards, and other printed materials


Ordering business cards, postcards, and other printed promotional material for promoting your art is easy and cost effective. For ideas on printing companies to try, see the earlier post on Affordable Business Cards. Most of the information you need is available on any of these print sites. Look for the terms:
  • Download Template
  • Artwork specifications
  • Preparing Artwork files
Tips for setting up your own invitational postcard.
Note: virtually the same method applies for business cards, with the exception of the mailing information.


  1. DOWNLOAD A TEMPLATE
    When setting up digital files, check with your chosen printing company for Templates; they will almost always be available for download on the website, often under the term: Artwork Specifications.

    Here's a sample view of a VistaPrint.com template for a standard size postcard, front. all vital information should be well within the Safe Margin (blue outline)

    ...and here's the template for the back of the postcard. Note that it takes postal regulations into account.


  2. SAVE THE TEMPLATE TO A NEW NAME
    such as, 'mypostcard2009.psd'
  3. EDIT AND SAVE YOUR PHOTO IMAGE
    in a separate document, save the photo of your artwork you'd like to use on your card. You'll want to use 300 dpi, with a color mode of CMYK.
    For best results, make this image the same dimensions as it will print on the final card. See other tutorials on this blog if if you need more information.
    If you want the image to cover the entire card, be aware that some of your image will be cropped off.
  4. COPY AND PASTE YOUR FINAL PHOTO IMAGE
    Add your photo to the downloaded template.
  5. ADD TYPE TO YOUR LAYOUT
    Making sure again that your file is 300 dpi (from the top toolbar, click on image/image size; look for the the number in the 'resolution' box); add type using the Type tool in Photoshop (It looks like a capital 'T').
  6. CHECK YOUR TRIM AND SAFE MARGINS
    Make sure you don't have any type or important parts of your image outside these lines or they may get cut off.
  7. DELETE THE ORIGINAL TEMPLATE LAYER
    If you leave this layer in, it may get printed. Oops!
  8. SAVE THE FINALIZED FILE
    You may find it useful to save a copy as a .PDF; this is a smaller file but is accepted by most printing companies.
  9. UPLOAD THE FILE
    After you complete both the front and back files, you should be ready to upload your file for ordering. Follow the online directions at the printing company of your choice.

I realize this is kind of a loose overview; please let me know if you think more detail would be useful. As I said, most of this information is available at each printing site, along with their own specific directions.

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