Editing photos is an artistic process in itself. With the Topaz software,  I often feel as if I have been dropped off at an art supplies store and told to create a masterpiece with hundreds of supplies to chose from–not an easy process for the indecisive. However, when feeling artistically challenged I have learned to go with the flow and not second-guess myself.

Some of the best advice I ever received was from one of my high school English teachers, who explained that when lacking ideas and on a tight deadline to just do it. Put something down on paper and get going, as it is better to start with something sub-par than have nothing at all.  This does not just apply to writing; with photo editing or any form of art you must start somewhere, and later on if you do not like what you have created you can always revert the process or make edits. But you must start somewhere or else you get nowhere.

So while I could have spent hours deciding between the hundreds of photos on my computer, in hopes for the “perfect” one to write about, I automatically selected this picture of the Austin city skyline because:


1) It has been at slumber in my computer since 2011–completely untouched. Working with photos I have never edited before always allows for added creativity.

2) I took this photo while driving. Some say this is the equivalent to texting and driving. My response is that this is a style of photography. However, I should note: do not attempt to take photos while behind the wheel. 

For today’s tutorial, I am going to show you how I edited this skyline photo from scratch without any visions in my head of what I wanted the final product to look like, except that it needed to standout and be better than the original. (***Note: All of these edits were done in one try)

I first started by cropping the photo in CS5 and then bringing it into Topaz Adjust 5 where these effects were applied:

1) Classic-> Photo Pop -> Transparency 0.55-> Apply

2) Vibrant-> Vibrance-> Trans. 0.5-> Apply

3) Vibrant-> Spicify-> Trans. 0.9-> Apply

4) HDR-> Dynamic Pop II-> Trans. 0.75-> OK

After Adjust Effects:


I then took the photo into Simplify 4:

1) BuzSim-> Trans. 0.5-> OK

After Simplify Effects:  


Next the photo was taken into Detail 3.1 where these adjusments were made:

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 4.05.14 PM        Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 4.07.03 PM

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 4.08.04 PM  Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 4.09.30 PM

After Detail:


I then thought the photo looked a little too bright and saturated so I took it into Adjust again and applied the Split Tone I filter and brought the transparency to 0.6.

Back in Photoshop I was still not quite satisfied with the look, so I copied and pasted the original photo onto the newly edited one and reduced its opacity to 20%.

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 4.36.20 PM

And voilà! You might have noticied with this tutorial that I am a huge fan of applying multiple effects and reducing their transparency, as I enjoy maintaining some of the origins of the photo I began with.

austinFINAL2 copy

In addition, I uploaded this photo to my Instagram stream where I applied the ‘Amaro’ filter:


In the near future I expect I’ll make a large print out of the Instagram photo and have it framed. Would make for a great wall piece!

***A couple of people noticed a halo effect around the buildlings caused from this editing process. To get rid of it I went ahead and did a quick selection around the skyline and used the clone stamp tool to select pieces of the sky to rid of this effect.


Share this
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Reddit0Share on Tumblr0Email this to someonePrint this page