PhLearn: Photoshop Tutorials

If you ever edited with Photoshop, you know there is not one and only one way to do the edits. You can go from the most complex and obscure to something very mundane and easy. is an amazing source of photoshop tutorials. I just finished viewing all my backlog and instead of creating one post per tutorial I will today group them in one post.

  1. How to create a sunset in Photoshop: Transform a regular picture in a photo with a gorgeous sunset light
  2. How to clean background in Photoshop: A technique I had never seen used before based on the median blur.
  3. How to create a double exposure in Photoshop: A artsy technique to blend 2 pictures.
  4. How to create freckles in Photoshop: Always loved freckles and I am amazed how natural this technique is.
  5. Change the color of anything in Photoshop: All is in the title…
  6. How to create a lens flare: For all the JJ Abrams fans
  7. How to change hair color in Photoshop: Not as easy as you might think due to highlights and color ranges…
  8. How to remove anything from a Photo: A very detailed step by step tutorial to remove stuff you don’t want

I love these tutorials as you can understand the thought process behind it. Don’t hesitate to share your tips and tricks in the comments…

By Sebastien Grobelny


Macro is an extreme close-up.
I believe these links deserve a close-up 😉

By Sebastien Grobelny

Motion blur

If you have seen my Marseille post, you may have noticed the picture below.

A building in Marseille

This is an easy effect I have seen being used more and more recently. I will try to show you how to achieve it. I believe it creates an ethereal look and works very well when dealing with some king of pattern. Feel free to download the picture and try it for yourself.

Original file

Original file

1. Straighten (optional): depending on the direction you want to give, you may need to straighten up first. I wanted to give a 90 degrees angle here so I had to straighten the window frames. To do this open in Photoshop,  duplicate the layer, select the ruler tool either by picking it up in the Eyedropper tool group or clicking Shift+I until you get it. I did put my starting point at a window corner near the bottom and the end at an upward corner on the same column. The longer the distance, the more accurate you will be. Once done, go to Image -> Image Rotation -> Arbitrary. It will display the angle calculated. Just validate. Use the cropping tool on the result.

Just before the cropping

Just before the cropping

2. Selection: Use the rectangular Marquee tool (M) and select the zone you want to apply the effect to. I selected a zone that is about 1/3 of the picture and in the center. As I may want to redo this step in the future I will create a new layer with the selection. With the selection still active go to Layer->New Layer->Layer via Copy.

The new layer from Step 2

The new layer from Step 2

3. Motion blur: Duplicate the newly created layer and with the Magic Wand Tool (W) select the empty space at the bottom by clicking anywhere in the empty space. With the Shift key pushed do the same thing on the top part. Then go to Select->Inverse to get your original Marquee tool selection. With the selection active go to Filter->Blur->Motion Blur. A box like the one below should appear.

Step 3 Options

Step 3 Options

Angle will give you the direction of the movement. Below are 3 different angles

0 degrees. Only the distance is a factor here.

0 degrees. Only the distance is a factor here.

45 degrees

45 degrees

Minus 45 degrees. See how the direction is opposite to the 45 one

Minus 45 degrees. See how the direction is opposite to the 45 one

As I want a downward direction here, I will use -90 degrees. Distance will impact the force of the effect. The lower the distance is , the more you keep  the forms.

Distance 100

Distance 100

Distance 300

Distance 300

Distance 600

Distance 600

I used the -90 / 600 px setting. As I want to also have this effect upward I do another copy and apply the effect with 90 degrees and still 600 distance.

Move the layers up and down to your liking. You should get something like this.

Result of step 3

Result of step 3

4. Overlap : You can see that were the layer overlap you have some transition issues. To fix this I used a Polygonal Lasso (L) selection as follow

Step 4 Selection

Step 4 Selection

I select the upward layer and a use the Erase tool (E) on it. Once done I do the same with the downward layer.

Step 4 Result

Step 4 Result

5. Integration: The last step is to integrate your motion blur with the rest of the picture and do the adjustments you wish.

Here’s a creative use by someone way better than me:

By Sebastien Grobelny


Macro is an extreme close-up.
I believe these links deserve a close-up 😉

Puma details


By Sebastien Grobelny


Macro is an extreme close-up.
I believe these links deserve a close-up 😉


By Sebastien Grobelny


Macro is an extreme close-up.
I believe these links deserve a close-up 😉



By Sebastien Grobelny

Long Exposure #5 : To edit or not edit?

As mentioned in “What is a photographer?” and again in “Fiat Lux“, a photograph is a succession of steps.
Once your camera caught the scene the next step is to deliver it to your public, but before you do that you need to answer the question that haunts a lot of photographers: Should I edit this picture or post it “as shot”?
For some people, to not edit their shot is a credo: the shot is over as soon as you push your shutter. For others the push of the shutter button is just one of the many steps towards their final picture. For me editing is a way to bridge the gap to my ideal shot.
Below is a before (left) / after (right) shot I edited recently using Adobe Lightroom 4. I played with the colors and tones a bit in order to get a picture more vivid. Don’t you think the right one looks better? (for a look at the final result just click)

Bryce Canyon Before / After EditSome photographer have more restrictions than others. If you’re a photojournalist you will not be allowed to amend details that alter the meaning of the picture. It means that cropping might be allowed, contrasts and tones amended but you won’t be allowed to remove or add anything from your picture. I suggest you have a look at this article on Gizmodo to see how pictures were edited in the past.
Recently, I went with Celine on another roadtrip and our starting point was Las Vegas. We have been there several times but never really thought of capturing the Welcome sign. Unfortunately for us we just remembered it on our way to the airport, during our final day. If I were to be a purist, I might end up with the shot below.

The Las Vegas welcome sign unedited

I didn’t like much all the cables or some of the buildings but it’s not as if I could just go an bulldoze the buildings or cut the cables down. The sky was also pretty uniform as the sun was high in the sky. With Lightroom and Photoshop I was able to get the result below, with more textures in the sky and a dreamy effect, closer to what I’d like my shot to be.

Las Vegas Welcome Sign Edited with Photoshop and LightroomEditing is for me one more tool, a way to get more control on the final result but like a super power it must be used responsibly. One of my proudest edit is a very subtle one. People liked the shot below, but very few people know that it was one of my first edit (to see the original version just click the image).

Statue of Liberty editedIf you want to see what edit can do for you I suggest you read Mike Campau guest post on Scott Kelby’s site.

By Sebastien Grobelny

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