Working smarter with a new workflow!

New Workflow Featuring Topaz Labs Filters and Photomelange Textures

I have been using my own textures and fine art textures from couple other designers for a few years now, but recently I decided to try some of the filters and apps offered by Topaz Labs. I also started using Adobe Lightroom, since a lot of photos that I take here in my living room seem to suffer from lack of light!

First, I followed a few tutorials for Lightroom, and I actually sat through the entire thing! I usually just play around in the program until I get the effect I want then move on. Problem was… I simply wasn’t concentrating on how I got from point A to point B, so the next time I went to use the program I’d get frustrated when trying to duplicate some simple effect I accomplished in a previous session.

My new workflow

Step One: Clean up the image. What I have to do in Lightroom is pretty simple – get rid of the color artifacts that show up in low light shots. Then sharpen the image just enough to bring up the contrast without adding the artifacts back in.

Step Two: Boost the details! Topaz Clarity is one of my new toys, this app adjusts the contrast of a photo on a number of different levels, which helps bring more detail into low light images. I also have Topaz Adjust, this app has some interesting options, but I really haven’t used it that much – but I do like the “sketch” filters!

Step Three: Color adjustments! Another new toy I got myself for Christmas – Topaz Texture Effects. When I use this app I actually don’t use the “textures”, I use the color adjustments, color overlays and light leaks, pretty much everything except the textures!

Step Four: Textures!! Once I’ve made all the adjustments I move back into Photoshop and start working with textures. At this point I may go back to Clarity and/or Texture Effects since the textures will effect the details and the overall color.  Maybe add another light leak perhaps, I love them right now!

Once I’ve come to a point that I’m happy with the all the adjustments, I’ll flatten the image and open it one final time in Clarity or in Details to see if I can pop some more details out without making the image look unrealistic – you can go overboard if you’re not careful!

Once I’m really, really, finished (the final file at this point is usually something like “Final12” since I constantly save the file at almost every major adjustment point!! Just in case!) I resize the image for Flickr or 500px, and then, one final time, take it back into Detail to make some minute adjustments – my mother did tell me once that I was a perfectionist… I don’t think so but maybe she was right!