All posts by Shohini Sengupta

A very enthusiastic Writer, Blogger, Pianist, Vocalist and newbie Graphics artist, I love doodling pen and ink sketches and designing banners and CD covers. I am also a Biotech student and enjoy writing articles on new and exciting topics that catch my fancy between college and exams. :) My Twitter handle: @ShohiniBird

How to Fix an Old Photo in Photoshop in 3 Easy Steps

Retouching pictures is an art in itself and image fixing can have many facets. You may have to restore an old picture, alter the lighting and color temperature, or do something very simple like removing the date or time signature automatically added by your camera to ruin your otherwise beautiful composition. (Usually, you can avoid this by switching the option off, but it helps to know how to remove it in case you, like I have on many occasions, forget to do so).

In today’s post, I will reveal a secret much guarded by photography studios and discuss how to do something that many people unknowingly consider rather complicated.

Let us start by assuming that you have an old picture. (Imagine a really old picture… like that of your grandparents’ when they were young and you will know what I’m talking about.) It is likely that even if you have it on disk, it’s a scanned version of an original which could do with some work. But then, you have your heart set of getting it framed, after all, it is such an adorable picture that brings back great memories for your mom and for that it needs to be fixed first. Here is how you can do it yourself:

The original sample I’ll be using to demonstrate is this it is an old photo of my own grandparents:

fix_old_photo_sample

Step 1: Open the picture in Adobe Photoshop and double click on Backgroundin the Layers tab to unlock it and make Layer 0 (circled).

fix_old_photo_step1

Step2: Select the Clone Stamp tool from the tool box and choose a suitable brush from the Brushes tab (circled). A brush size of 15 px seems suitable for my purpose, so I will go with that. Feel free to change according to your picture requirements though!

fix_old_photo_step2

Step 3: What I will be attempting to do is to clonecertain undamaged portions of the photograph (which are similar to the damaged portions) and stampthese onto the damaged parts (the torn areas in this picture). To do this you need to press and hold the Altbutton on your keyboard and then click on the area you want to clone from. You will find that the cursor changes its shape to a target sign (circled) when you press and hold Altand becomes normal again once you select your area. Now click the way you would for an ordinary brush over the damaged areas similar to the cloned portion to fix them.

fix_old_photo_step3

As you can see here, I’ve removed most of the damaged areas in the top left portion of the picture:

fix_old_photo_step3_b

Here is what the final restored image looks like:

fix_old_photo_final

Perfectly easy, right? Once you’re happy with the results just save the picture with a .jpg extension and you’re good to go!

Another application of this technique is when you want to remove time or date signatures from pictures taken using a digital camera.

The key here is to (a) Get the brush size right and (b) To click over the right areas, with these becoming instinctive once you get the hang of things! So go ahead with confidence and have fun breathing new life into all your old pictures!

How to Color Black and White Pictures using Photoshop in 10 Easy Steps

Suppose you have a Black & White picture and wish to add a dash of color to gray, there would be no need for you to run to the nearest studio. Instead, you can just use Adobe Photoshop right from home! It is simple enough to be carried out in 10 easy steps that I will demonstrate right now

Let’s say this picture is my B&W sample to be colored using Photoshop:

sampleoriginal

Here is how to go about the process:

Step 1: Right click on the picture in question and Open With Adobe Photoshop.

step1

Step 2: Double click on Background in the Layers tab and make Layer 0.

step2

Step 3: Now right click on layer 0 and select “Duplicate Layer”. This step is optional but I always prefer it as a precaution in case there is a need to go back to the original.

step3

Step 4: Use the Polygonal lasso tool (circled in red in the picture below) to slowly and carefully select the area you wish to color.

step4

Step 5: Once you have made your selection, click on Select from the menu bar and choose Feather. The box shown below appears. This option feathers the edges of your selection so that the color that you fill in does not look too artificial. Usually, 2 pixels works fine by me!

step5

Step 6: Then go to Image -> Adjustments -> Colour Balance as shown in the picture. below A dialogue box controlling color levels appears. Keep shifting around the color balance till you get the color of your choice by changing the Midtones, Shadows and Highlights. Just in case you have different selections that need the same shade of color, I’d advise you to note the RGB color levels and just input these in the boxes each time. This will spare you from having to tweak around each time to get that perfect match!

step6

Step 7: Once you’ve got the color you want, right click on the selection and choose “Deselect” from the pop down menu that appears.

step7

Step 8: Use the Polygonal lasso tool again to select another portion of the picture that you want to color and repeat steps 5 through 7.

step8

Step 9: When the entire picture has been colored (below) compare this with the original B&W picture. You can do this by making only Layer 0 visible (and not Layer 0 copy).

step9

Step 10. Now that you are satisfied with your work, delete Layer 0 and save your new image with a .jpg extension (not the default .psd extension) by clicking on File -> Save As…

Here is the final colored image:

samplecolored

And this was the colored picture that I had taken using my Nokia 5220 camera (I had converted it to B&W using Picasa for the purpose of this tutorial):

image0063

They both look pretty similar right? Looks like a job well done!

You can use this simple coloring technique to create stylish color accented pictures or even color drawings and sketches. Enjoy!

Top Theme Frameworks to build WordPress CMS Themes

Any WordPress user will find that there is a vast array of themes to choose from. However, very often there is a need to customize pre-existing themes to one’s own requirements for the best possible presentation of information. It is here that WordPress Theme Frameworks come in very handy.

The best and most useful WordPress Theme Frameworks are those which allow users to customize their themes in an organized visually appealing manner where information is not only in an easy-to-read format, but is also arranged in a useful systematic manner. Thematic is one such WordPress Theme Framework. Thematic is open-source, free, search engine optimized and gives users, especially beginners, an upper hand when it comes to adapting themes based on their custom needs.

thematic

ThemeHybrid is another good place for WordPress Theme Frameworks. It offers free service to members and has great community support for all your WordPress theme needs.

themehybrid

The modus operandi of Carrington, another WordPress Theme Framework, according to the site itself, is the creation of custom templates. It is a minimalist CMS theme for WordPress that chooses classy elegance to over-the-top designs and is perfect for those who prefer a more subtle style to something overtly showy. All downloads from here are free and GNU GPL v2 licensed.

carrington

Now for those who would prefer a lighter CMS theme for WordPress, the Whiteboard theme, designed by Brian Purkiss would fit the bill perfectly seeing that it is only 76KB. And so, you get a fast-loading theme, something that is a definite plus point as it would reduce the number of people who might just get bored while a page loads and go off to another site!

whiteboard

WP Framework also provides a clean and basic WordPress Theme Framework that is highly extensible, can be easily modified directly and stays abreast of the latest WordPress updates.

wpframework

After you choose and download the WordPress Theme Framework of your liking, you can let loose your creative ingenuity to blend content and design elements together in a manner that best suits your content.

10 Sites You can Download Free CSS Templates From

It is quite common for web pages to be personalized and the information they contain to be made more reader-friendly with the use of CSS or Cascading Style Sheets. The use of CSS not only improves the presentation of a web page, making it much more elegant and easy on the eyes, but it also allows greater adaption in the way you can present information on your web page.

Given the importance of CSS in web development, it is imperative to use the right CSS template to get the “look” and “feel” of your website right. And in vein of the philosophy followed by Techie Buzz to share technology related information, this post has compiled some useful websites from where you can download free CSS templates.

Here are 10 great sites you can download free CSS themes from:

One great website for this purpose is freeCSStemplates.org, where you can browse through an excellent collection of free CSS templates and preview each before downloading them.

freecsstemplatesdotorg

Free CSS .com is another such site where you will be enthralled by their collection of free downloadable CSS templates and layouts.

freecssdotcom

Although very similar in name to the first two sites mentioned, Free CSS Templates also offers an interesting range of CSS templates for your downloading pleasure, that too available in the easily and quickly downloadable .zip format. This site lets you use the downloaded CSS templates for both personal and commercial use provided that you take care to follow the license terms and make sure to give credit to the site by linking back to it.

freecsstemplates

Another helpful site from where you can download free CSS templates is styleshout.com, which, with its exhaustive content and elegant minimalist style is an example in itself.

styleshout

Of course, if you are still brimming with enthusiasm for more CSS themes, you could always head over to TemplateMo.com and browse through their collection of free CSS templates.

templatemo

CSSTemplates.NET is another site to provide you with more options.

csstemplatesdotnet

Again, GetCSSTemplates is also sure to serve as a good source of free CSS templates that you can use.

getcsstemplates

If you are still not satisfied, go for CSStemplatesforfree.com to download lightweight and free CSS templates.

csstemplatesforfree

Template Fusion will provide you with more choices still.

templatefusion

Lastly, another site that you could try out is Best Free Templates, which will also provide you with an excellent collection of free CSS templates for download and use.

bestfreetemplates

10 Awesome Design Inspiration Websites

So you have a free afternoon and think that it would be fun to tinker around with Photoshop for a while. Or perhaps you have a design project due which you would like to start working on. But when you load the software and sit before the canvas, you find yourself drawing a blank.   However, when the Internet is at your service, can inspiration be left far behind?

In this post I will be talking about websites that you can get design inspiration from. To make the list more diverse yet organized I will club together the websites according to the various design categories:

Logo Design

As logos present a concise pictorial representation of what a company is really about, they create the first impression that a consumer gets of the company. Presently, there is great demand for logo design with companies of all kinds fretting over The Logo that will help them get ahead of their competitors by appealing more to consumers.

One awesome website you can seek inspiration for logo design from is LogoPond. This website keeps stock of the finest logos submitted by designers from across the globe and you are sure to find lots of ideas going through these logos.

logopond

BuzzShout is another comprehensive listings site which has a wide range of inspiring logos stored in its database.

buzzshout

For more design ideas you could also try out LogoTwo which has a commendable collection of Web2.0 logo designs.

logotwo

Website Design

A good website with an elegant design is an absolute necessity in the corporate world. BestWebGallery offers a great collection of excellent design websites including both Flash and CSS based ones.

bestwebgallery

If you want design ideas for CSS based websites, look no further than CSS Based, where there are many beautifully designed websites listed.

CSSbased

Another great gallery for your perusal is CSS Hazard.

CSShazard

Print and Graphic Design

Graphic design is a diverse field and when you are looking for design ideas, you can easily find yourself spoilt for choice.

CDDesign.com is most inspiring if you are seeking design inspiration for CDs, cassettes and the like.

cddesign

On the other hand, if it is inspiration for poster design that you are looking for, check out this post on Bittbox.

bittbox

Even business cards can be made cool, as is evident from this list of interestingly designed business cards posted on All Graphic Design.

allgraphicdesign

Finally, if you are looking for something quirky, here is an archive of various kinds of packaging designs at Imaginary World.

imaginaryworld

The websites mentioned here are only a few of the tons of websites that you could turn to for design inspiration. Do feel free to mention any which you have personally liked in the comments. There can be no dearth of inspiration when life itself is inspiration, right? Enjoy!

10 Great Photoshop Tutorial Websites

Imagining present times without Adobe Photoshop can be quite difficult. Not only does this extremely versatile software let you fix that grainy picture you want to use as your new Facebook profile picture but you can also use it to create your own digital artwork.

However, using Photoshop, and by that I mean using it properly to its full potential, is hardly a cakewalk! To say that almost everyone who is new to Photoshop finds himself or herself a little confused is an understatement. So, to make your foray into digital art and photography a little easier, I will share 10 Great Photoshop Tutorial Websites with you.

Psdtuts+ is a great Photoshop tutorial website which updates its content regularly. Also, this a great website if you take a fancy to a wide variety of photo-manipulations. From tutorials on Applying Textures to uneven surfaces to Creating an original pin-up girl, Psdtuts+ not only has a vast range of Photoshop tutorials, but also explains these lessons in a friendly manner that is easily understood by all. Although complete access to all the material that can be downloaded, including all PSD files of tutorials is accessible only to paying members, the instructions can be seen by all visitors to the website.

psdtutsplus

Another great website for Photoshop tutorials is Tutorial9. All the Photoshop tutorials provided by this website are created by experienced teachers and are completely free. Tutorial9 also has an excellent stock of Photoshop tutorials. Some of the interesting lessons include those on how to Design an Epic Fantasy Scene with Photoshop, Create a Clean and Colorful Web Layout in Photoshop and How To Create An Abstract Floral Explosion in Photoshop among others.

tutorial9

PS Hero also offers great Photoshop tutorials for free. If you are starting out with Photoshop, this would be a great place to look for lessons as there are tutorials on many simple image manipulations that can be used to great effect, for instance, learning to create A Scrap of Notebook Paper or Grunge Photo Edges.

pshero

PSD Learning is a relatively new Photoshop tutorial website which has a wonderful stock of tutorials that will suit the requirements of not only those seeking to perfect their digital art but also novices who are only starting out with their game.

psdlearning

Another excellent Photoshop tutorial website that has started out recently is 10Steps.SG. With friendly navigation and fantastic content organized into categories, this is another great website to turn to for Photoshop tutorials.

10steps

If you want to learn how to create Incredibly Realistic Water Text in Cinema 4D and Photoshop and other interesting image manipulations, then you would love Abduzeedo. Not only do you have extremely helpful Photoshop tutorials for a host of advanced Photoshop functions but you are also provided with design inspirations that you can make use of while coming up with your own creations.

abduzeedo

However, if you would rather master the simpler tricks first then Photoshop Contest has extremely helpful lessons.

photoshopcontest

You could even head to Photoshop Tutorials for more tutorials on the various Photoshop techniques.

photoshoptutorials

If you are looking for Photoshop tutorials on creating WordPress layouts then you could visit PSD Vibe which has excellent tutorials for these among other lessons on interesting techniques.

psdvibe

Finally, in your quest for learning Photoshop skills, you could also try out the tutorials at Pxleyes.

pxleyes