Today I’m going to post something different, a tutorial of picture enhancement using Virtual Photographer in Photoshop. This is the first time I’m writing a tutorial, hope you will like it.
After seeing Ah Max posting those beautiful pictures of Gaborone Dam, I feel like making them even more beautiful. And now I want to share with you how to enhance a scenery picture using some simple techniques in Photoshop.
I’ll be using this picture taken by Ah Max at the Gaborone Dam in Botswana as an example. Thanks to Ah Max allowing me to use this picture for the tutorial. You are the man.
This is a very nice picture and it looks professional, but with a few simple steps we can make it even nicer and it will look like as if it was taken using a film camera.
First of all, what we need is, of course, Photoshop. Besides that, I’ll be using a plugin call Virtual Photographer where you can download it from their website for free. It’s my favourite plugin.
Okay, lets get started.
Step 1 – Make selection
Make an oval marquee selection at the center of the image. Then go to Select – Inverse (Shift+Ctrl+I) to inverse the selection.
Step 2 – Create black vignette
Create a new layer (Ctrl+Shift+N). Fill the selection with black colour using the Paint Bucket Tool. Press D to reset the color picker, then using the paint bucket tool to fill the area with black or press Alt+Backspace to fill the selection with foreground colour.
Remember to deselect the area (Ctrl+D).
This will create a black vignette around the picture. I find it pretty nice to add black vignette on scenery pictures as it will make the picture looks more dramatic and draws the viewer’s attention to the center.
Step 3 – Soften the vignette
Blur the vignette using the Gaussian Blur filter. Go to Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 100 pixels.
Step 4 – Set the blending mode
Now, make the vignette less obvious. In the Layer Palette, set the blending mode of the vignette layer from Normal to Overlay. Then lower down the opacity of the layer to 40%.
This will make a nice vignette effect which darkens the corners of the picture.
Step 5 – Process colour using Virtual Photographer
Here comes the interesting part. Make sure you have Virtual Photographer installed.
Select the background layer. Then go to Filter – OptikVerve Labs – Virtual Photographer. The Virtual Photographer windows will pop up.
Select Landscape from the Presets drop down menu as shown in step 5.1.
Then, drag the slider of the Film Speed to the left most (-10) as shown in step 5.2. This will prevent the plugin from adding too much noise to the picture.
You may want to play around with different presets to find the effect you like. You can even make it a black and white picture.
Take a look at the original one.
And the enhanced version. Click on the image below to view the original size (1024 x 768).
With the help of Virtual Photographer, the picture now looks more vibrant, more contrast and more gorgeous without much of hard work.
That is it! My first ever tutorial. Feel free to leave your comments and I hope you enjoyed it.