Creative Tips Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs

High Resolution Textures For Photoshop

Now available in their own online texture gallery are several “unique to the North Woods” high resolution textures available for purchase!

Lake Superior Shoreline Texture
Lake Superior Shoreline Texture

High Resolution Textures

These textures are all from photos that I took myself on a DSLR of some of the resources that can be unique to the Upper Midwest region, such as:

  • Lake Superior shoreline
  • Lake Michigan beaches
  • tree bark from birch and other North Woods species
  • rock and stones
  • plants and grasses
  • snow and ice

All of the textures have been adjusted to 50% gray in Photoshop (you’re welcome) and can be applied to your images in Photoshop or uploaded in to your own assets library in Topaz Texture Effects.

Lake Michigan Beach Texture
Lake Michigan Beach Texture


How much do these unique high resolution textures cost?

Only $1 per single photo with a $5 minimum purchase.

That gives you a perpetual, non-exclusive license with significant freedoms and helps me cover costs associated with hosting the files on a proofing site, credit card processing / bank fees, file delivery, buying gas & groceries, paying the landlord, etc.

Who can use these high resolution textures?

You can use them for personal or commercial use.

Who retains copyright to any high resolution textures that I download from this site?

I do. ©Kelly Doyle. All Rights Reserved.

Do I need to provide attribution for any textures that I download from this site?

While a link back to this site is appreciated if you use one of my files to enhance your image, it is not required. Who the hell can remember where they downloaded all of their different textures from anyway? Let’s keep it simple.

Are there any restrictions on my use of textures that I download from this site?

Yes. You may not resell or redistribute any of my photos (duh), or allow the use of my photos on print-on-demand products. Simple. Other than that, you are granted a wide range of freedom to use the files in your projects and alter if desired.

Will the textures I download have watermarks?

No. The watermark that shows on the files in the proofing gallery will NOT be on the downloaded photo.

Is there a minimum order?

There is a $5 minimum at this time.

How do I get the files?

Just add the files you want to purchase to your shopping cart when you visit the texture gallery and you will get an email telling you how to access the download once your payment is processed. Please be sure to check your spam folder if you do not receive an email soon after completing your purchase (it will come from the proofing site, not from

What format are the photos?

All the textures are high resolution jpg files at 300 dpi.

I will be adding more textures to the online gallery as time allows. If you have any other questions – feel free to ask! 🙂

Abstract Creative Tips Landscape Lightroom Nature Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs tutorial

How to Create Surreal Forest Photos in Minutes

Want to learn a fast easy way to turn “blah” forest photos into something surreal? I’m going to show you a way to get two different options out of the same “ho-hum” forest photo in just a few easy steps using Lightroom with either Photoshop for the blur option or Topaz Labs plug-ins for a super fast impressionist painterly effect.

Impressionist Painterly Effect
Impressionist Painterly Effect

Original Forest Photo

I took this during the middle of a sunny day at St. Croix State Park when the light was a bit harsh. I really liked the way the forest looked in real life, but the image straight out of the camera was, well…. lackluster to say the least.

Boring Forest Photo
Boring Forest Photo straight out of the camera.

Original Edits in Lightroom

For this one, I only did some very basic edits in Lightroom: brought the temp slider down to emphasize the blues and turned the hue slider on the aqua channel way up. You may have to make different tweaks depending on the image you’re starting with.

Adjust Temp & Hue
Adjust Temp & Hue in Lightroom

Option One – Linear Blur

From this point, I did two different edits starting with the basic Lightroom adjustments. For the first, I then took the photo in to Photoshop CS6 -> duplicate layer -> Filter -> Blur -> Motion Blur and adjust to taste. For this one I had the angle at 90 and distance at 500 pixels. I used the normal blending mode at opacity of about 76. Save and fin:

Blur Effect
Linear Blur Effect

Option Two – Impressionist Painting

The second option was to take the basic Lightroom adjusted photo in to Topaz Clean to de-clutter some of the details. I wasn’t really satisfied at this point as it wasn’t the end result I was looking for, so I then tried Topaz Simplify and chose the Impressions Natural preset in the Painting category. In this case, I probably didn’t need Topaz Clean to get the result I ended up with. Since the Topaz Labs plug-ins work with either Photoshop or Lightroom, you can use them with either. I didn’t really tweak it beyond that except to add a vignette when I brought it back to Lightroom. Fin.

Impressionist Painterly Effect
Impressionist Painterly Effect

I got two completely different abstract forest photos that you’d never know came from the original – all in about 10 minutes. And I was lolly gagging. I’m not sure which edit I like better – I like them both for different reasons. I hope you like them, too! If so, do you have a favorite?

Both are available for purchase in the Abstract Gallery.

Creative Tips Photo Editing Special Offer Topaz Labs

Introducing Topaz Texture Effects!

Topaz Texture Effects Scratched Bronze

If you’ve ever experimented with adding textures to your photos in post processing, you know that it can be a fairly time consuming experiment. In the past, I’ve always used Photoshop and had to add several layers to an image to get all of the effects that I wanted. I’ve even added several layers just of different textures and then clicked the little “eye” icon on or off to see how each one would look on the actual image (not to mention scrolling through the blending modes). I do have a software program that has some texture pre-sets, but any time they update their software (which is usually at least once a year), they want you to purchase it all over again to get the updates. As of today, Topaz Labs has introduced a brand new product to their outstanding line-up of photo post processing software: Topaz Texture Effects! Now you can preview a bunch of different effects applied to your image simply by scrolling over with a mouse, then making a selection with a single click! And any time Topaz updates their software, you get those updates free of charge 🙂

Topaz Texture Effects allows users to create a variety of textured, toned, and lighting effects in a fraction of the time it takes in Photoshop or other editing software. The program includes a library of over 150 expertly crafted presets, 275+ high-resolution textures and effects, and instant access to effects other Topaz users have shared with the new Topaz Community.

Check out these before and after images made with a single click:

Topaz Texture Effects before & after


From soft and subtle lighting effects:

Crisp Morning Run1

… to high impact grunge and contrast:


… turn a good photo into an amazing image with just a single click!

If you want to tweak one of the 150 presets that come with the software, you can do any part of it easily. The program comes with 275+ high-resolution (5000x5000px) image textures, light leaks, dust and scratches, borders, color overlays, etc and you can edit any of them by clicking the black circle with horizontal lines icon – or start your own from scratch.

Topaz Texture Effects Main Interface
Topaz Texture Effects Main Interface

You can also upload other textures that you may have downloaded elsewhere or created from scratch yourself and use it within the software.

Topaz Texture Effects Texture Manager
Topaz Texture Effects Texture Manager

You can even add masks and do basic image edits.

Topaz Texture Effects Masking Module
Topaz Texture Effects Masking Module

Topaz Texture Effects can be used as a stand alone program or as a plug-in to other software programs.

Photoshop CS4+, Photoshop CC, Photoshop Elements 6+,
Paintshop Pro X, Serif PhotoPlus X5+, Lightroom
*Not compatible with Fusion Express

System Requirements:
Mac OSX 10.8+
Windows 7/8/10 x 64bit + OpenGL 3.2
*Does not support Windows 32bit


Adjustment Stack View
Adjustment Stack View

Topaz Texture Effects will retail for $69.99, however you can purchase for only $49.99 ($20 off) off until November 20 by using this coupon code: TEXTUREFX

As always, they offer a 30 day free trial on all of their software products.

You’re welcome 😉


Creative Tips Photo Editing Photoshop Topaz Labs

Same Photo, Different Looks With Photo Editing

There’s more to making a “pretty picture” than just composing the shot and getting your aperture, shutter speed, exposure and focus just right. Photo editing in post processing is a completely different and important skill in and of itself. It can be time consuming, turn a “meh” shot into a “wow!” shot and can be a ton of fun. And since I shoot in RAW, post processing is a necessity. Here’s just one recent example of how changing the color scheme of a shot from the North Shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota gives it a whole new look and feel:

Straight Out of the Camera

This is what it looked like straight out of the camera with no editing at all. I took this shot just before 9 am in mid-September, so the light wasn’t horrible but was starting to get a little harsh. It was a 13 second exposure using a polarizer and a 9 stop ND filter.

Sugarloaf Cove Straight out of the camera
Sugarloaf Cove Straight out of the camera

A Variety of Photo Edits


Just basic edits to bump up the shadows and add a touch of clarity & vibrance, then a bit of split toning to warm up the rocks and brighten the blues in the sky and water.

Sugarloaf Cove Split Toning
Edited in Lightroom using split toning.

Topaz ReStyle

Topaz Labs has some of my favorite plug-ins to stimulate new ideas and ReStyle has some pretty crazy options to choose from! I like the way you can create different moods just by changing the color, tone, or contrast of the image, which can make it look like you were there at a different time of day or night. Some look realistic and some are way out there. Here are just two examples:

Sugarloaf Cove

Sugarloaf Cove
Edits with Topaz Restyle

Nik Collection Color Efex Pro 4

Nik has some interesting plug-ins as well. For landscapes, I like the cool / warm grad filters in Color Efex Pro. I think this is my favorite edit of the bunch for this particular image!

Edit with Nik Color Efex Pro using a cool / warm filter.
Edit with Nik Color Efex Pro 4

Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2

If I’m in a hurry and want to convert a shot to black and white, Silver Efex Pro is my starting point! You’d be surprised at how many different options there are just in black and white! Otherwise, there’s always curves and channels in Photoshop where I can dial it in EXACTLY the way I want it – if I take the time.

Sugarloaf Cove Black & White
Edit with Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

As you can see, the exact same image can take on a completely different mood just by doing basic edits. Some of the third party filter plug-ins can make it very easy to experiment, which sometimes gives me ideas that I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of otherwise. In addition to color scheme changes, there are endless other options as well, such as adding textures (OnOne has some good textures that can be used in Perfect Effects), painterly effects (Topaz Impression is awesome), double exposures, or more extreme edits in Photoshop. Although I don’t usually rely on plug-ins (I like to treat each image as a stand alone subject), it’s fun to try new things!

How do you do your photo editing? Which of these edits do you like best?


Abstract Creative Tips Photoshop tutorial

How to Create Twirl Effect in Photoshop

If you like abstract photography, you’ll LOVE this twirl effect in photoshop! It’s fast and easy – SO easy you could create an action for it and make it even faster if you want to!

finished twirl in photoshop

Here’s how it’s done:

Twirl Effect in Photoshop

Start with any photo in 8 bit. This is the original:


Filter -> Pixelate -> Mezzotint -> Medium Lines


Filter -> Blur -> Radial Blur (slider = 100, blur method = zoom, quality = best)

radial blur

Repeat step 3 up to 5 times as desired. I just did it once in this example.

Duplicate Layer.

Remain on original layer. Filter -> Distort -> Twirl (angle value +80 or as desired).

Select new layer. Filter -> Distort -> Twirl (angle value = opposite of step 6, ie -80).



Alter new layer’s blending mode = lighten.

blend mode lighten

Merge layers. Fin.

finished twirl in photoshop

There you have it – the twirl effect in photoshop! Play around with it and have fun!

Creative Tips Landscape Nature Wisconsin

Landscape Photography – Same Location, Different Time of Day

I went to a new for me state park in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago: Pattison State Park just south of Superior, WI – with my primary goal being to capture some new landscape photography for the gallery. I was especially hoping to get photos of the Milky Way and I had a short window of opportunity with the moon set happening just before 2 am. The weather forecast was for clear skies on Friday night, with increasing clouds on Saturday and a stormy Sunday. Pattison is host to Wisconsin’s largest waterfall and also has a beautiful lake with a nice sand swimming beach. It’s close to Amnicon Falls State Park, which has several scenic smaller waterfalls (many with people who like to sit in the middle of them on a warm summer day). Anyway, I haven’t had time to process all of the photos I took over the weekend, so you’ll have to wait to see what I came up with.

This post is just about a little project that I decided to try: take a photo from the exact same location at different times of the day to see how different it can look as the light changes. I found a delightful little spot just a few yards from my campsite on the east side of Interfalls Lake. Here is the first shot I took at about 8:30 pm, which is about half an hour before sunset:

Interfalls Lake, Pattison State Park, Wisconsin, sunset
Interfalls Lake 8:30 pm

I set my alarm for 1:45 am to get on location just after the moon set so that I could get as many different angles of the Milky Way as possible. Long days mean short nights, and astronomical twilight happens awfully early in late June. You want the sky as dark as possible, so timing is critical. The bull frogs were making their weird little noise and there was a light fog hovering over the lake, which doesn’t really show up in the photos. No bugs at all, which made it a magical night to be standing under the stars.

Interfalls Lake, Pattison State Park, Wisconsin, Milky Way
Interfalls Lake at 3:09 am

The humidity was causing my lens to collect condensation, which was giving me some trouble after about 30 minutes of shooting. Had to pack it in after that and managed to get a couple hours of sleep before the birds started chirping. By 6:30 am the loons were calling out on the lake and it was already well after sunrise:

Interfalls Lake, Pattison State Park, Wisconsin, early morning
Interfalls Lake at 6:42 am

These photos all look very different, even though they were taken from the exact same spot within a 24 hour period during the summer. You can imagine the autumn colors, the frozen lake and trees covered in snow with stark black and white landscape, then the first tree buds and flowers of spring if I could access this spot throughout the year.

What are your favorite landscape photography projects?

Abstract Creative Tips Photoshop tutorial

Turn a Panorama to a Photo Planet with Photoshop

Learned a cool technique from Ben Wilmore during Photoshop Week on Creative Live a few weeks ago: how to transform a landscape panorama into a Photo Planet!

Planet Zumbro

Basic Photo Preparation

This was my first attempt at this technique, so it’s a little rough. I also don’t currently have an ideal shot to apply it to (you want a nice panorama) and it was taken as a jpeg with a point and shoot camera, resulting in more artifacts in the sky than I like, but here’s the general “how to”:

This is the image I started with before any edits at all:

150404Planet Zumbro1You can see how the sky has got some artifact and there’s a distracting tree branch imposing on the upper left side of the frame, but what I was looking for when selecting an image was one where the right and left edges would blend together fairly well without too obvious of a seam. The horizon matches fairly close, as does the grassy area in the foreground.

Landscape Panorama Zumbro River BottomsI did some of the basic edits in Lightroom to adjust clarity, contrast, vibrance / saturation, and get the tonal properties the way I wanted them. Then took it into Photoshop CS6 for further editing to get rid of the tree and some of the artifact in the sky.

How to Make a Photo Planet

Now to the nitty gritty:

Filter -> Other -> Offset

Use horizontal slider to move the edge of the photo towards the center. Make sure the wrap around setting is turned on so that the image “loops around” and the right and left sides join together. At this point, you will notice an obvious seam that will need to be blended. I used a combination of spot healing and patch tool with content aware fill to do what I needed for this particular image. Content aware has become a good friend 😉

Once you’re happy with your seam touch up, you need to convert the document to a square shape:

Image Size -> note number of pixels of longest edge. Deselect constrain proportions (it may be a chain symbol depending on your version of PS), and manually enter the pixel size of the longer edge to both height and width so that they are the same. Your image will now look distorted / stretched.

Now you need to flip the document upside down or your sky will be the core of the planet instead of the ground:

Image Size -> Image Rotation -> Flip canvas vertical

Make sure your document is in 8 bit or this next part won’t work:

Filter -> Distort -> Polar Coordinates

This will give it the round shape. You now have a photo planet!

Filter -> Distort -> Pinch (I used 50%, which was the default) to pull in the center a bit.

Planet Zumbro