After-Before Friday Week 31: One Photo Focus

Emilio Pasquale's old cars, by jmf
Emilio Pasquale’s old cars, by jmf

It is official, I have joined the After-Before Forum that appears on Stacy’s blog, if you have been reading the blog for a while you might recall I have contributed to this forum before and I will attempt to make this a regular feature of the blog each friday. As part of the group we will, once a month one photographer will submit an image that each of us will work on, and in our own blog post we will describe the steps we took to process our image. Stacy’s blog will show all the different images with links to the various photographers who are participating.

I am pretty sure that you won’t see two images alike. It is a great way to learn, to expand both our processing skills as well as our own visual awareness.

Emilio Pasquale has submitted the first image of the year, I titled it old cars. I don’t know if Emilio has a bunch of old cars sitting in his back yard or if he visited a place on a photo expedition, it doesn’t really matter. Here is the image he sent to us.

Emilio Pasquale RAW

I knew as soon as I opened his file what I wanted to do with the image, and it always takes me longer to write these blogs than it does to process the image! I should tell you the Emilio has a sense of humor and I couldn’t look at that yellow truck without thinking it needed a little happy face!

I opened the file in Photoshop, and my first job was to find a happy face, on the internet to copy and paste to the truck, using the transform tool to twist and distort to fit the grill. There are dozens of great learning videos on YouTube, that will explain the transform took way better than I can. I have provided a link, check a few of them out if you want to learn more about how to use the transform tool.

Each time you paste a clip art to your original photo you have a separate layer, that enables you to adjust the blend mode and to opacity of the layer, each will affect the final look, for this layer I set the blend mode to overlay and the opacity to 64%, this allows the grill of the truck to show through slightly. Before I can go on I have to flatten the image into one combined layer.

Staying in Photoshop, my next step was to use the tilt-shift blur tool, the screen shot below will show you where I placed the blur tool and adjustments made.

Screenshot 2015-01-03 08.46.00

This keeps the yellow truck in focus while blurring the other trucks. The Photoshop blur gallery has various ways to blur an image, and there are times when it is fun use these effects to enhance an image to tell the story. My next step was to use Analog Efex Pro 2, using the setting for Classic Camera 2 to get the grungy old photo feel. Below is a screen shot showing the program, you can see on the right side all the different areas that can be adjuster to suit you image and your vision.

Screenshot 2015-01-03 08.58.59

It is easy getting lost in these programs, at each set there are literally dozens of options to choose from to achieve the final look. I have to admit that I have previously spent several hours watching training videos, and working with different images to see the results. I am to old for beach volleyball, and a bit of a geek, I would rather be doing this than knitting! I knew exactly what I wanted Emilio’s Old Cars to look like when I open the image for our first Challenge so the total time was about 30 mintues, that included taking screen shots to prepare for the blog post.

Drop me a line in the comments section, let me know what you think of the final image, then head on over to Stacey blog to see what others have done with Emilio’s image.


15 thoughts on “After-Before Friday Week 31: One Photo Focus

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your steps to the final of Emilio’s image. That is what I love most about ABF and this now new One Photo. It amazes me how much I learn from others. I like the out of focus on the other trucks. Didn’t know how that would happen until you shared it. 🙂 I need to take more time in writing. Really enjoyed reading yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Kcinaz so nice to hear that you like the post, I am never sure how much to write! I thought that if I added links to different tutorials I would have to explain less, and those that are interested can hunt for more detailed tutorials! The group shows that there are so many ways to process and image, it is a great learning place. Nice of you to join us.


  2. Hey I never saw the smiley face! Really appreciate you showing the steps with your blur process, Im still very much a PS newbie, and as you say there are many different ways to achieve an outcome. I did like how the blurring worked here, bringing the focus to the main truck 🙂


    1. thanks Lensaddiction, it is nice to know the post was helpful. As you say, so many ways to achieve a great image, the after-before group will hopefully help your learning and inspire your photography! I didn’t want the smiley face to be too obvious, sort of like it had been there almost as long as the trucks themselves…


  3. I really like the use of tilt shift to emphasize the focus on the car. Also analogue efex has added a vintage feel that works well with the subject.
    Although you have taken part in forum posts in the past, I wish to welcome you to the forum as a regular. It is so much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ben, it is nice to hear you like the image, this is a wonderfully supportive group that highlights more than one “right” way to process and image, with so many creative results. I am happy to be apart of the group and I am sure to see my work grow.


  4. Thanks for sharing your technique. You’re right about each of us having a different look. I was pretty sure too how I wanted it to look, but I still tried it several different ways. Yours looks great! I love the blur technique for the back trucks – I have to remember that one and try it out.



  5. Yay, Janice! You know we all already consider you a “regular,” but I’m honored that you’ve openly declared a goal to participate each Friday 🙂 Great post explaining the fabulous results you achieved. I had a great chuckle over your smiley face – inspired choice! And what a cool tool the tilt-shift is. I have so much to learn in PS!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Snow, it is nice to hear you like the post and could understand all the step, I am finding these difficult but rewarding to write. By keeping better notes I am learning so much… nice to see your work as part of the group as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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