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I do a lot of composites of similar images or render passes, so I like to have the document name as the layer name so it’s clear which document was used for the layer. I don’t know much about scripting Photoshop but I managed to piece together a very basic AppleScript to do exactly that, so grab it here if you want to:
The original AppleScript is here: Rename Front Doc with Document Name AppleScript.
Here it is in action:
I use this script so often that I ended up putting the script into an iKey hotkey so I don’t need to the AppleScript Editor to run it manually. I highly recommend iKey if you want a keyboard automation app for OS X. I also used it to map command-shift-z to command-y for Nuke’s redo function and it does a bunch of other auto-typing stuff for me.
So I’ve updated GoP with some handy changes which bring it up to version 2.0 (download link). If you don’t know GoP, it’s a script that lets you send selected objects in Maya to Photoshop for texturing. The original version used the OBJ format as a go-between but 2.0 now uses .dae COLLADA format, which has some nice advantages – most notably, camera support:
As you tell, that has great potential to be used as an aid for matte painting or texturing with specific angles in mind. By default, Photoshop opens 3D files as square, but you can get the correct cropping for your scene by matching the aspect ratio or dimensions of your Maya scene:
As you can see above, this also supports basic coloured Maya lights. I can’t claim any credit for this stuff. It’s just Adobe’s excellent COLLADA support that’s doing all the work. You may need Photoshop CS6 for camera import support but meshes will import fine. Anyway, this should come in handy as Adobe adds more and more 3D features to Photoshop Extended.
Just looking through my Goya book and noticed the ultra-sharp details of this gorgeous still life, Three Slices of Salmon. If you look closely, you can see that he covers it with a darkened glaze that picks up the valleys of the brush strokes, much like an unsharp mask or ambient occlusion effect (click for full size):
I apologize for cropping it but I couldn’t fit it all in my scanner. Unsharp Masking works by increasing the contrast of surrounding pixels, so this is a lot like what you’d get if you over-sharpened an image in Photoshop. You see this in a lot of Rembrandt paintings as well. Anyway, it’s an interesting technique to see how painters devised ways of making things seem hyper-realistic despite their loose brushwork.
Stacks of paper and money are one of those things that would be complete slowverkill to create as individual planes with SSS. Unless you need them to flap at the edges, a stack of bills can be easily faked with a series of lines along the edges that are then used as a mask for a stretched edge fake in Photoshop, and later as a separate bump map:
The render (notice the light catching the bump on the stack at the bottom):
The one complication to this workflow is that Photoshop will usually detect that you’re trying to edit a bank note image and not let you edit it:
That’s why I had to do the initial layering in the excellent and cheap photo editor Pixelmator and the banknote image wasn’t detected in the layered image used above. If you want to do a dollar stack, you might need to use The GIMP if you’re looking for a free Photoshop alternative.
People tend to assume that wide-gamut means “better” when shopping for an LCD screen but unless you’re always in Photoshop, their minuses outweigh their pluses. Since most apps like ZBrush, Maya, etc. have no ICC colour support, it becomes more of a hassle trying to hammer your displayed work back into a non-crazy-pink-red or cosmic green colour space. If you do stuff for television or print, high-quality sRGB screens more fitting but are rare now – I’ll be holding onto my dual NEC 2490 WUXi screens for a long time to come, despite the screen real estate advantages of larger or higher-res screens. Anyway, read on in the CGSociety thread where me and an illustrator talk about the benefits and problems of using wide-gamut screens and AdobeRGB colour space in production.
So the next time you see a laptop or screen with 100% AdobeRGB advertised, you might think twice about buying it.
I did an extensive review of Photoshop CS6 and have explained the Adobe Creative Cloud licensing. Read on!
Photoshop CS6 has been in public beta for a few weeks now and, as a private beta tester, I saw Adobe’s new 3D mesh implementation early on. They made merging 3D meshes into a scene as easy as working with pixels and it’s crazy how the move tool has taken on so many functions and done it well:
That makes it possible to use stock meshes to make pretty sophisticated compositions right in Photoshop. I did one for Adobe’s 3D content page and this is all rendered with Photoshop’s progressive raytracer:
I’ve been hounding them to support Ptex so that newbies can just paint meshes without having to worry about UVs, so hopefully that will come next. Peel the top of layer of your eyes (I think that’s how the saying goes) for my full review of Photoshop CS6 on Ars Technica in the coming month.
If you’re a Maya user and want to use Photoshop Extended for some light 3D texturing, grab my GoP script for Maya if you haven’t already.
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I found a bug in Mudbox 2012 where 16-bit channel PNGs load as 8-bit but wanted to preserve the edits I’d done on this texture. So I copied the edited map to the 16-bit original and used difference mode to show where the changes were done and loaded that as a mask:
This is a good way of checking if two images that look similar are actually different.
When you work on a magazine that does a lot of stories about real people – not celebs who have nice photos – you often have terrible photos that you are forced to deal with. The current magazine contract I’m on has one of these cases; there is a story about a man who ran a marathon to raise money for cancer research and all the photos are pretty rough looking and we can’t shoot him because he has unfortunately passed away. The best (meaning the least terrible) option was one shot that still had big problems: it was an over-compressed JPEG and it wasn’t clear who the subject was, since everything was in focus.
After jacking up the saturation to give the photo more life, the solution to the subject and quality problems was to hand-paint a Z-depth pass to simulate the depth add then apply a depth of field blur (I’m using the amazing Frischluft Lenscare). This served two purposes: you get to decide what the subject matter is by focusing on it and the high-quality bokeh blurring makes the photo sleeker and more film-like. Our terrible photo, while still no Cartier-Bresson, has graduated to publishable. The Z-pass:
The final comp:
Probably easier to see the focus if you look at it animated in Nuke:
If you look closely, you can see there are some edge halos that require touch-ups but that was pretty straightforward.
If you don’t have the money for Frischluft, Photoshop’s Lens blur has similar features. It’s not as nice as Frischluft and requires more touchups but the same technique can be used by pasting the Z-depth into an alpha channel and it will be picked automatically as the depth source when you open the plug-in:
Often the source material you have for a texture isn’t ideal, forcing you to do some finicky Photoshop work to remove distortion. This has always been most complicated when you have a curved surface and you need to build a straight edge out of it for texture painting. The Photoshop Edit/Transform/Warp can help with these but it’s never perfect, so you end up layering and mixing edits, which is slow. Photoshop CS5’s Puppet Warp is the ideal way to fix these things:
You can see how there’s minimal blurring going on there. If you have something more complex as a source shape, you might need to do it in parts:
I just picked that one off of Google Images as an example – you can tell the blurry parts aren’t really a great for texturing. Puppet Warp is great but it doesn’t save you from the “crap in, crap out” rule.
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