January 19, 2012

How to Create Perfect Levels Photoshop Tutorial

This is a technique I learned a few years ago in one of my photography classes. *Remember I am not the photographer in residence, that's Michelle's deal, but because I majored in Film as an elective course I took a photography class.

There are a bunch of other ways to achieve the same result but this seems to be an all around easier way to white balance/correct the levels in your images in Photoshop without just using the auto white balance button or auto levels button.

This is a quick 2-5 minute fix for those pictures that just don't seem to be the right color.

This is the picture I would like to fix. It's bland, the color is flat, it's dingy and not to mention really really yellow. It's a picture of my husband the day he blessed our little one almost 5 years ago.

So here you have it How to white balance and create amazing levels in Photoshop.

1. Open the file you wish to work on.

2. In the adjustments layer box (should be on the right side of the window) click on create a new levels adjustments layer.

A new layer will appear just above your background layer/original image.

 3. In the Levels adjustment window you'll want to change the drop down menu from the RGB (all colors) channel to just the red channel. What you're doing is isolating the reds that are in the picture.


4. Hold down the ALT key and click and hold the black triangle below the levels histogram box.

5. Your image will go red, slide the black triangle toward the middle of the box, when you see little black dots start to appear stop. Sometimes you won't have to move the triangle. In my case, I did not need to adjust the lower red levels in this picture. Note that the number under the black triangle remains 0.

6. Hold down the ALT key and click and hold on the white triangle below the histogram box.

7. Your image will go black, slide the white triangle toward the middle of the box, when you see red dots start to appear stop. Like with the black triangle you might not need to slide the triangle to make the dots appear. In my case, I did need to slide the triangle to adjust the lighter reds. Note that the number has changed from 255 to 236.

There you have it. You have adjusted the darker reds and lighter reds of your image. No need to adjust the greys/middle tones. You'll notice your image has a bit of a red tint. Don't worry it will go away as you continue to adjust.

8. Go back to the drop down menu and select/isolate the green channel.

9. Repeat steps 4-7 for the green channel. Note that again ,in my image, there was no need to adjust the darker greens and the number remained 0, but my lighter greens needed to be adjusted and changed from 255 to 215.

Now the image is a little green.

10. Go back to the drop down menu and select/isolate the blue channel.

11. Repeat steps 4-7 for the blue channel. Again no change with the darker blues, but the lighter blues changed from 255 to 161.

Viola you are done!

Now, make any minor adjustments you feel you need. Maybe you need to adjust the red a little or it looks a little too blue. Just have fun with it.

Once you are done with the adjustments merge the two layers together (or not) and save the file. Most times because I don't want to lose the original file, I will save it with a new name in the same location.

For instance this pictures title is IMG_0528. My newly adjusted picture kept the same name but I added (fixed) to the end of it. It saves the two right next to one another so I can see what adjustment was made.

After that I just close out the Photoshop file. No need to keep the PSD if I have saved the original. Hard drive space, at least on my computer, is a hot commodity and I don't want to bog down my hard drive with PSD files that I won't ever use again.

So here is a side by side look of the before and the after.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. I found the knowledge EXTREMELY helpful when I learned it in my class.

Here is other example of a before and an after with this technique.  It's a picture of my little brother and my daughter Audrey, the one getting blessed in the tutorial, an hour before he headed into the MTC in Provo.

The original image looks great. It has great color. I made sure I white balanced the camera before taking the picture. Everything was reat with the picture.

To a novice eye you wouldn't see a problem with the original image but, compared to the adjusted picture (below), you'll notice that the original looks almost flat and bland. The blacks look almost grey. His red tie doesn't seem as bright.

The new image is lively and rich with color.

Here is a close up of  difference between the two images.

Can you believe that a 2 minute adjustment can make such an amazing difference? Who'd a thunk it!

If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to leave a comment or email us at lovinglifedesigns at gmail dot com.

Coming soon: Michelle is going to be doing a post about how to quickly correct skin tone.

January 9, 2012

How to Download and Install Fonts from the Internet

Michelle and I were talking about this the other day and realized that we ask people to download fonts a lot. I mean a TON! It just comes with the gig of Do It Yourself (diy) invitations and announcements, blame Microsoft and Apple for not having amazing fonts to choose from. 

Then we realized that it might be a frustrating experience to download the fonts, that we use, if you have never done it before.

With that in mind, I present to you a tutorial on How to Download and Install Fonts from the Internet.

I've created instructions for both Apple and Microsoft users.

Take Note: With all of our font downloads we will make it easy for you to find the font. Normally we'll just link to the intended fonts download page, like in our last post - striped baby boy photo birth announcement. This post I posted a picture of the font and then the picture links to the download page. 

These following steps are for both Apple and Microsoft users.

The first thing you're going to do is click on the link we have provided for you - in this case the example image of Halo Handletter.

Note: if you are having trouble seeing what I have written on the screen capture, click on the picture to make it fullscreen and then press esc to go back to the post.

The link will then direct you to the download page.

Click on the word download to start the process.

Dafont.com has it on the far right (pictured above), Font Squirrel has it on the right (pictured below) and Fonts for Peas has a picture on the bottom of the page (also pictured below).

*For Microsoft (PC) users follow these steps on how to install fonts from the internet.

A dialog box will appear asking if you want to open the file or save the file.


This next bit will be a little tricky. You need to find where your computer saved the file.

Firefox will open a second dialog box which will show you the progress of the download and once complete you can right click the download and tell the computer to open the containing folder. Firefox will have saved it to a downloads folder.

Internet Explorer will download the file and then ask you where you would like the file to be saved. Best place for a quick install is to save it on your desktop.

Next you will have to open the downloaded ZIP and extract the files. When extracting files from a zip Windows/Microsoft will ask you where you would like the extracted files saved. I save them in the same place I saved the download (in my downloads folder or my desktop).

The newly extracted folder will then appear.

Double click on the truetype font file.

Yet again, another window will appear showing all the characters of the font and then an example of what the font will look like at different font points.

Finally click install.

Viola you are done!

If you don't want to keep the ZIP file or the extracted file you are more than welcome to delete the two files, because the computer will save the font into the fonts folder. No need to think about installing that font again.

*For Apple users follow these steps on how to install fonts from the internet.

When you click on the download button, on the fonts download page, Safari will place the downloaded file into a downloads folder on the mac.

The easiest way to find the new download is to click on the small download icon on the top right of the browser window (pictured below).

Double Click on the new download and a window will appear asking about the newly downloaded application.

Click open.

A font dialog box will appear.

Click on Install Font.

Once installed the Font Book folder will appear showing that the font was installed and placed in the folder.

Viola you are done!

Now you can now delete the download file, if you so choose, because the computer has saved the file to the Font Book.

I hope that helps and clarifies the font install process.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to email us at lovinglifedesigns at gmail dot com or leave a comment.

Coming soon - How to edit type in a PSD files without using or having Photoshop.

January 5, 2012

Loving Life's Top 10 Posts from 2011

Happy New Year Everyone!

We just wanted to re-share with you the most popular posts of 2011. We hope you enjoy this look back at memory lane.

Free Poster print I am a Child of God

free Christmas Card

free poster print gordon b hinckley

Free Baby Shower Invitation

free baby shower invitation

free poster print Home Sweet Home

free Photo Christmas card

free birthday party invitation

free poster print families are forever

free poster print nursery

So there you have it. We want to thank everyone enough for supporting us and making this first year so much fun. Are there any you think we missed?