{I’ve Got the Aviary Flu Bug}

18 Jan

No, no.  Not the Avian flu.  Although that Made-for-TV movie about we’d all die from bird flu if someone sneezed on us did make me want to run out and buy a gas-mask.  Nope. This is different. This is a great website, Aviary.  What’s it all about?  It’s free Photoshop.  But better. Because it has tutorials.  And samples. And a cute interface. And stats. And an online community.  Basically, it put “Operation Find Pants” on hold while I’ve tried to finally learn photo manipulation software.  I’ve had a version of Photoshop for about a year now, and this is how far I’ve gotten…

That’s right. I opened it. Go me!  Actually, I tried to do a bit more, but I honestly just couldn’t figure it out.  I’m a pretty smart person.  And I learn things on my own fairly quickly.  But this has me stumped.  Some basic googling left me empty handed, too.

So when I came across this site, I was uber excited.  Finally, I can get some help.  Within a half hour, I had already learned a few basic tricks, and developed a more solid understanding of the process, and created a few fun pics.  Some of the tutorials that are listed under “beginner” are still a bit tough, so I’ve ordered a few that will help a newbie get started.

Lesson 1: Part 1-Creating an Account and Learning About the Site

Lesson 1: Part 2-Learning the Tools and the Workspace

Lesson 1: Part 3-More About Tools

Lesson 1: Part 4-Layers

Lesson 1: Part 5-Editing an Image

There are many, many more tutorials ranging from baby steps to professional designs, but these five should really help to feel confident in moving ahead.

One technique that I’ve been dying to figure out is how to make one color “pop” in a black and white photo.  I’ve been able to somewhat create the effect in Power Point and Paint, but it was tedious and the end result wasn’t always that good.  So I was excited to create these.

In Photoshop:

  1. Click File- Open. Then choose the picture you would like to work with. (It should be a  color photo.)
  2. This is your first “Layer”.  You need to create another Layer to work with.  Think of layers just like you would layer clothes.  If you have a cute sparkly cami on, and then put a sheer cardigan on, you’ll still be able to see some of the sparkly cami.  If you put a heavy wool sweater on, you’ll only be able to see the outline, if any, of the cami.  You could then add a jacket for a whole other effect.  You’ll layer your pictures on top of each other in the same way.

To create the layer: Right-click on the original background layer (or the “cami”), and then choose “duplicate layer.”

Be sure that you now have two layers.  The copy or duplicated layer (or the “cardigan”) is the one that you will be working on, so that one is the one that should be selected.

3. With the duplicated layer selected, go the the Image menu at the top–Adjustments–Black and White Hue.  Note: The bottom layer will still be color, but the copied layer on top of the bottom layer is now black and white.

4. You now need to remove the top Layer where you want the bottom layer to show through.  (Think of putting a hole in the front of the cardigan so that the design on the cami can be seen more clearly.) For example, in the picture above, I want the flowers to be color, while the rest of the picture remains in Black and White.  Select the Eraser tool along the left side panel.  You can change the brush size, shape, and hardness along the top depending upon the size of the area on the layer to remove.

5. Using the Eraser tool, click and drag around the part of the picture that you want in color. Try out different sizes to get to different parts evenly.   Try using shorter strokes on smaller areas in case you make a mistake. You can always click Edit–Undo or Edit–Step Backwards.

6. To save the project as a picture, click File–Save.  From the Format dropdown in the pop-up window, choose JPEG and type in the name you wish to name the file.

On Aviary

  1. Launch Phoenix.  Choose “Load an Existing File”.  Choose the photo you wish to work with.
  2. At the top, click the Layer menu–Duplicate Layer.
  3. With the duplicated Layer selected, from the top click Image–Hue and Saturation. 

Using a little bit more of your own judgment, you’ll have to make the photo Black and White on your own.  Move the Hue and Saturation tabs all the way to the left to remove the color. Move the Brightness tab to the middle at 0, or a few notches to the left or right depending on the original photo.

4. Along the left side panel, click the Paintbrush tool, which will give you a pop-out menu.  Along the top of the pop-out, choose the Eraser tool. You can change the shape, size, and hardness of the eraser.

5. Erase the top Layer by clicking and dragging around the area in which you want the original color to be visible.

6. To save your image, you will have to Export it, or download it.  Click File–Export  Image. From the drop-down menu in the pop-up window, choose JPEG format, and then click “generate image”.  Another pop-up window will give you a “download” button. Click this to save a copy on your personal computer.

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