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Landscape Photography – creative sky replacement using the color picker

 

landscape-cutout

 

Mother nature’s rich color palette at this time of year is a gift for landscape photography, often accompanied by mellow light and artistic skies that further enhance an image.. but not always. If conditions aren’t totally perfect, don’t let that stop you getting the shot.

Photography, of course, is all about light, and no amount of post production can replace the magic that happens in camera. But, if you don’t have the luxury of time, the location on your doorstep, or any of the other factors that mean this is your only chance for an image, then take it! It’s easy to replace flat grey skies using Fluid Mask with just a few clicks. This example was done in less than 3 minutes, utilising the color workspace to pick out the background with just a few clicks. Here’s a step by step explanation:

01–  First up, I selected the color picker and set the resolution to it’s coarsest setting. The sky we’re looking to select is the lightest part of the image, so by selecting just the first band, furthest to the right on the histogram, that’s highlighted most of the sky areas for me.

I then assigned these to my delete mask, by clicking on the red bucket on the left hand side of the color picker pane.

With the blend mode set to ‘thick’, I then hit ‘create cutout’ for an initial first pass at this mask.

 

– That’s given me a pretty good cutout, but viewing in the Cut-out tab, by setting the background color to something ultra contrasty (black!), you can see that there’s still a few small areas of sky showing though the leaves.

So, going back to the color picker, I zoomed in and manually selected some of these areas sampling directly from the image. Holding down the shift key allowed me to add multiple areas to my selection.

See the image below where I’ve zoomed in even further to show this.

 

picker

– Using the coarsest setting the color picker offers to get to this point so quickly, I ended up with a few of the highlights in the leaves also added to my delete mask, so tabbing between the original and the workspace, using the keep brush I spent a minute adding these highlights back to my keep mask, keeping the blend mask width to ‘thick’ to avoid any unnatural hard edges.

And that’s the job done. Super easy, super fast!

You can of course work the other way around – use the color picker to select hues for your keep mask, and then use the autofill with delete option, instead of autofill with keep. It would depend on whether it’s your foreground or background that has the easier selection to pick out. For landscape photography, it’s often the sky that an easier selection to make.

Enjoy the magic of fall, whatever the weather, and work smarter with Fluid Mask.

Posted on: September 27, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Trees & Lattices, Fluid Mask, How to..., Tutorial

Fluid Mask 3 Key Commands and Shortcuts sheet.

 

Here’s a handy download –   a Fluid Mask 3 shortcuts sheet listing key commands for Fluid Masks’s tools and commonly used actions. You can really speed up your workflow by getting to know and using these shortcuts. Please click on the image to view and download the .pdf version.  Work even smarter with Fluid Mask 3!!

Fluid Mask 3 Shortcuts Sheet

 

Posted on: September 8, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Further Tips, Fluid Mask, How to..., Tutorial

Anyone for a game of Supermarket Sweep?!

Both Canon & Nikon gear up a massive support operation at major sporting events.. now you can see just how big, for Photographers at the Rio Olympics, in this video from Canon’s Instagram feed.

Over 950 DSLR bodies and 1,500 lenses in their Canon Professional Services storeroom, ready for action as loan kit. From the stories surfacing about crime at this years Olympics already, we hope they’ve got a good lock on the door!

 

#CanonCPS keeps professional sports #photographers ready for action. #news

A video posted by @canonusa on

Nikon, they’ve shown you theirs, now you show us yours…

Posted on: August 17, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Off-Topic

Photoshop CC2015.5 and Fluid Mask 3

Update:

We have today released a new build of Fluid Mask that adds auto detection of Photoshop CC2015.5, so that Fluid Mask can be used as a plug-in by both Windows and Mac users.

You can download that here .  Please be sure to uninstall / delete your previous version of Fluid Mask before updating!

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CC2015.5

 

Adobe this week released a major update to Photoshop CC, version 2015.5. Here’s information on using Fluid Mask 3 as a plug-in.

Mac build:

The Mac version of  Fluid Mask will successfully plug into CC 2015.5 , you just need to go through the ‘enable plug-ins’ process and link manually, via the help menu in Fluid Mask’s menu bar. It’s a simple process, here are full instructions on how to do this.

1. Ensure Fluid Mask and Photoshop are not running

2. Launch Fluid Mask, then go to the ‘Enable Plug-ins’ window via the help menu (if you have retained your previous version of Photoshop CC, that should already be showing in the Enable plug-ins showing as linked with a tick in in it’s box).

3. To add CC 2015.5, Please click the ‘select’ button and then navigate to CC 2015.5’s plug-ins folder, typically found:   Macintosh HD / Applications / Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5 /Plug-ins 

4. Select the ‘Plug-ins’ folder and then click ‘Enable Photoshop Plug-in’

You should now have a tick next to the version of Photoshop you have just successfully plugged Fluid Mask in to. Should you have any problems with this please submit a ticket via our support portal. Our support team will be happy to help with any issues you experience.

 

Windows build:

The current Windows build of Fluid Mask does not plug into CC 2015.5 – we are working on an updated build and this should be available by the end of the week.

In the meantime, the good news is that there’s a workaround. If you have not already updated to CC 2015.5 and you’d like to continue using Fluid Mask as a photoshop plug-in, you have the option to leave your previous version of Photoshop CC installed on your PC alongside CC 2015.5.

You can set your Creative Cloud app to, by default, retain previous versions of any app’ when installing an update – see Adobes instructions here. Or, if you’d just like to keep the old version of Photoshop, see here before updating to Photoshop 2015.5

 

Posted on: June 24, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Technical Issues & Troubleshooting, Photoshop

Photoshop CC2015 Update – New Features and How To Plug Into Fluid Mask

Adobe this week announced a Photoshop CC 2015 update, which adds functionality and improvements to various tools. For those who do a lot of retouching and masking, improve mets to the healing brush (a diffusion slider) will be a welcome addition.

A lot of the changes have been  ‘to address several workflow issues’. A full list of these can be found over on the Adobe blog, and it’s a fairly long list!

While at first glance, additonal functionality is alway welcome, the flipside of this is ‘busier’ tool displays. With all this granular functionality, it’s harder and harder to reach some commonly used tool functions, via drop down menus via disclosure triangles, and results in a generally more crowded toolset. So another welcome addition is the ability to customise your toolbar.

Photoshop CC2015- new custom toolbar icon

The new ‘toolbar’ icon with ‘edit’ selected

Click and hold on the ellipses and select ‘Edit Toolbar’ for a simple drag and drop editor that allows you to consign the tools you seldom (or never) use to an ‘Extra Tools’ set, revealed by the disclosure triangle within the ‘Edit toolbar’ icon, you can also save a configuration as  customised toolsets.

Photoshop CC2015.1.2 customise toolbar window

 

It’s the addition of a ‘Welcome’ screen and flatter user interface design that will be the most obvious changes most users will notice. The welcome screen adds quick drag and drop access to Creative Cloud libraries (no doubt useful for some users, especially if you’re collaborating on projects), recently opened documents and a customisable ‘presets’ option for commonly used empty documents as starting points. Our jury is still out on this ‘welcome’ screen. If you are too, and would prefer not to use or even see this new feature (which does only appear in Application Frame Mode),  it’s easy to disable via ‘Preferences’ -> ‘General’ (shortcut: cmd K), and simply un-tick the checkbox “Show “Start” Workspace When No Documents Are Open” … we’re leaving that off for now!

Photoshop CC2015.1.2 update and Fluid Mask

If you use Fluid Mask as a filter/plug-in to Photoshop, you’ll need to relink it to Photoshop after installing the CC2015.1.2 update. Instructions and troublehsooting are available in detail via our knowledge base, here’s the info’ again for easy reference:

1. Ensure Fluid Mask and Photoshop are not running

2. Then please delete any sub-folder called ‘Vertus’ from the ‘plug-ins’ folder for whichever version(s) of Photoshop that you wish to plug Fluid Mask into (i.e CC2015), as well as any alias present named ‘Fluid Mask 3.plugin’

These folders/aliases can be found in the following locations:

Windows (typically, dependent on your configuration)

C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\Plug-Ins

or

[your applications directory]\\Adobe\Photoshop Elements\Plug-Ins\Filters

(Mac)

Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS6/Plug-ins / Vertus    <- delete this folder

Applications/Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 /Plug-ins / Fluid Mask3.plugin      <- delete this plugin

3. Launch Fluid Mask, then go to the ‘Enable Plug-ins’ window via the help menu

Versions of Photoshop you have installed should all be showing in the Photoshop Window, with grey ticks.

4. If so, click Enable Photoshop Plug-in and go to step 6. If not, or a version you wish to plug into is not showing, then click the select button and navigate to it’s Plug-ins folder following the paths as listed above.

5. If the version of Photoshop you wish to plug into is not available to select, as it’s not showing in the Adobe Photoshop pane of ‘Enable Plug-ins’, then you’ll need to link manually:

– Please click the ‘select’ button, then navigate the same path as described above through the chooser window to the ‘plug-ins’ folder within your version of Photoshop (having made sure you’ve already deleted the existing sub-folder named ‘Vertus’). then hit ‘Enable Photoshop Plug-in’ and you should be successfully linked.

6. The click enable, and when prompted, enter your administrator password.

You should now have a green tick next to the version of Photoshop you have just successfully plugged Fluid Mask in to.

Should you require assistance then please contact us by submitting a ticket via oour support pages, for further help from our support team.

Posted on: January 25, 2016 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Announcements, Fluid Mask, Photoshop, Digital Imaging News

Fluid Mask Training: project file and video tutorial

Here’s a cutout tutorial along you can work along to by downloading a Fluid Mask training project file. After applying a patch to the whole image, you’ll be shown how to easily mask out the sky, without losing any of the fine detail. This utilises the color workspace, one of Fluid Mask’s key tools to help you achieve perfect masks, quickly and easily.

Fluid Mask Training - before/after image

Here’s the original image and the final mask, click for larger image to see the detail

..and here's our image with a new sky added

..and here’s our image with a new sky added.  A definite improvement!

Please download the .vfmp file here, and view the accompanying tutorial on YouTube.

The project (.vfmp) file will download automatically after accepting license conditions, and can then be opened in Fluid Mask, either by launching Fluid Mask, then in the menu bar going to ‘File’ -> ‘load project’ and selecting the downloaded file (FM3_Training_1.vfmp).
Or you can just double click the project file which will launch Fluid Mask and load the project.
Upon first opening, the project shows you how your completed mask will look. You can clear this and apply the mask again, working along to the cutout tutorial, by going to File -> ‘Revert Mask’. Remember when adding to your blend selection, that you must extend your blend by brushing all the way into your keep and your delete selections.. it’s leaving a selection out, however small, that confuses Fluid Mask and results in contamination.

As always, we welcome any feedback.

 

Posted on: December 1, 2015 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Trees & Lattices, Fluid Mask, How to..., Tutorial

Fluid Mask 3.3.14 released – adds CC2015 compatibility for Windows users and more

Now available for all Fluid Mask users is version 3.3.14.  The major changes are to the Windows build, adding Photoshop CC2015 and Serif Photoplus X8 compatibility. Below is a full list of changes and additions made. If you wish to update, and it’s recommended that all users do so, you can download the new version by launching Fluid Mask and going to ‘check for updates’ via ‘help’ in Fluid Mask’s menu bar.

Fluid Mask 3.3.14 Change Log

Windows:

– Added Photoshop CC2015 plugin compatibility.

– Added Serif Photoplus X8 compatibility.

– Fixed bug where for some users, Fluid Mask crashed instantly upon launch.

– Extended free trial period from 15 days to 30.

Mac:

– Added Apple Developer code signing certificate.  

– Extended free trial period from 15 days to 30.

 

Posted on: September 28, 2015 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Announcements, Fluid Mask, Technical Issues & Troubleshooting, Photoshop

Vertus applications & Windows 10

Windows 10 WallpaperAll our testing shows Vertus applications running as normal in Windows 10, however if you should encounter any problems after upgrading your Windows operating system, please let us know with an email to support@vertustech.com.

If you’re interested, check out this youtube video to see how the image above was created and photographed in a studio, rather than CGI. Good to see Microsoft investing in real photography!

Posted on: August 1, 2015 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Technical Issues & Troubleshooting, Bling! It, Play With Pictures

Adobe Shortcuts and Key Commands sheets


Photoshop Shortcuts SheetWe spotted this over on Petapixel and thought too useful not to repost – the folks over at setupablogtoday.com have created a handy Photoshop CC Shortcuts sheet. They’ve also created them for Lightroom, Bridge and most other Adobe applications (see ‘related posts’ on their site).

Don’t forget there’s also a Fluid Mask 3 Shortcuts and Key Commands sheet you can download from our blog.

Whatever application you’re using, familiarising yourself with it’s shortcuts and key commands is the quickest, simplest and easiest way to speed up your workflow and work smarter.

Posted on: July 7, 2015 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Photoshop

Fluid Mask and Photoshop CC 2015

**UPDATE** The most recent windows build of Fluid Mask, version 3.3.14, now plugs into Photoshop CC2015. For more info’, see this more recent blog post.

 

 

Adobe have this week announced an update of Photoshop from to CC2015.

The Mac version of  Fluid Mask will successfully plug into CC2015 (you just need to go through the ‘enable plug-ins’ process, via the help menu in Fluid Mask’s menu bar). Should you have any problems with this please contact our support team who’ll be happy to help with any issues you experience.

The current Windows build of Fluid Mask does plug into CC 2015 – we are working on an updated build and will notify you as soon as that’s available.

The good news is that there’s a workaround. If you’d like to continue using Fluid Mask as a photoshop plug-in, you have the option to leave CC 2014 installed on your PC alongside CC 2015. If you have not already updated to CC 2015, and wish to keep CC2014 temporarily installed alongside CC2015 to use with Fluid Mask, when you get to this panel during the update process…CC2015_updatepanel

.. leave the ‘Remove old versions’ box unchecked – this will preserve CC 2104 and you can continue to use Fluid Mask as a plug-in.

If you have already updated and CC 2014 is no longer on your machine, there are instructions here on the adobe blog as to how to re-install CC 2014.

Posted on: June 18, 2015 Discussion: No Comments Posted in: Fluid Mask, Technical Issues & Troubleshooting, Photoshop

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