Way back when I first wrote this article we were introduced to a couple of
wonderful new hooks. LumiEssence and BiColorize. The basic
functions (of the the first hook)are that you can create and control the color curves for the highlights, midtones
and shadows for either the alpha buffer or color or grey buffer. BiColorize lets you create a gradient between two
tones. In effect making any picture into a "duoTone" where you decide the tones. So now you all 'get it', right?
No?! What!! You don't Instantly understand the unbelievable possibilities? And the rousing good fun that can be
had! Alright, so you understand the basic idea, but want a little help getting some of the subtlties.
Looks like it's SUPER CECILIA to the rescue!!!
(For some reason I can't help being ridiculous). Anyway, let's get
right to examining a few experiments with these hooks. And inasmuch as I am a
'seeing is believing' type of person, I will simply SHOW you how to
use these hooks.
I have a (PD) PhotoCD of Victorian ladies in various stages of
undress. I find them fascinating not because 'nakid wemon' do
anything for me but because Photography was still new then and the
personalities of some of these ladies is right OUT there. In many
cases more bare then their skin. There's a real art to posing for a
photo. It's not easy to look 'natural' in front of a camera.
Someday when I have time maybe I'll wax poetic about Betty Page.
Although I don't think there's an undiscovered 'Betty' on this CD,
you'll see for yourself that these ladies are downright adorable.
Download lumi.zip which includes the hooks, scripts and other files to play along
with me. I first used ImageFX4.1 and now ImageFX4.5 for this. And
while most of what follows will also work in ImageFX3.3beta2, when it
doesn't I'll explain.
Let's start with number 88. You can click on all the pictures to see larger versions.
It's a very nice profile. I saw some interesting possibilities for
further manipulation because of the shadowing along the face. A
nicely composed photo, if I say so.
Load this up and use the Layer Manager to [Make A New Layer From
Buffer]. We want a duplicate of the buffer as a layer.
Hit the [Hooks] button and start LumiEssence. Change the Mode to
Grey. And toggle Middle On. Dark and Bright should not be checked.
What we want to do is emphasize the difference between the shadows
and the lighter areas of the photo.
Dark slider about 68
Low-Mid slider to 102
Hi-Mid slider around 167
Bright to 181
Feel free to tweak these numbers around but the basic idea is that
the hair and front of face are dark while the middle part of the
face is white. You can make the transitions hard or soft. Try out
the different looks once you see what the next parts of this
Once the LumiEssence hook has done its work, change this layer into
Add a new blank layer
Now you can get really fancy. We are going to flood fill this new
layer with a range of colors. Go to the Palette Menu, load any
palette - use chrome2 or Firestorm- something with a nice range of
In the Toolbox access the floodFill and use one of the Diagonal
fills - I used Diag.LR
Fill the new blank layer.
Get the idea? The Mask layer lets some of the information through
and blocks other areas. Change the sliders in the LumiEssence hook
and you get a whole other look. This particular effect looks almost
like some poster designs from the 1960's.
Let's throw our gaze at picture 09. Notice the saucy look! And the
cigarette! Wow, "nice" girls didn't smoke - at least in public - in
those days. What is she implying?!
make a New Layer From Buffer
On the Toolbox keep G B on (pressed in) and turn off R (not pressed) (Sometimes I do this because the Blue
Channel - and some Yellow colors - can have more noise than the Red
Channel. Since I'm trying to reduce middle grey tones I want to
work on those areas mostly. For certain images it doesn't matter to
do this. I leave it up to you.)
Load LumiEssence. Use Color Mode.
Toggle Dark and Bright ON and set the sliders to: 156, 190, 221,
Change the blend mode to Subtract. That will dim the lights, so to
speak. I'll leave the fantasizing to you.
This woman is voluptuous with a capital "V", although she's trying
very hard to look casual. So let's try something a little extreme.
LumiEssence is a great way to create an alpha buffer - much better
than the default IFX [Copy To Alpha] that mostly makes very plain
grey images. And BiColorize is a painless and fun way to convert an
image into a subtle two-color range. This can be used to make a
kind of fake 'duotone'. In the print world duotones refers to the
two inks one will use to print the picture. It's usually Black and
another ink like a brown which creates sepia images. It adds depth
to an image with the simple addition of another ink. In the world
of RGB, this is irrelevant, it's all light and it all 'costs' the
Load up 38 and duplicate or Clone to a new Layer
With the new layer selected, start up LumiEssence, toggle Color mode, and
check ON Middle.
Move the sliders to 127, 128, 166, 167
Notice that when we do that the transitions between the tones are
not smooth. This gives a posterize kind of look.
Once the hook does its' work, you can use almost any Blend mode on
this Layer and it will look really interesting. Start with Absolute
Add and then try the rest.
You can also copy this layer and make it a grey buffer,
then using a Color Curve make the tones more extreme (increase the contrast)
then [Move Layer Down] to the middle and change it to a MASK.
after LumiEssencing the first copied layer, clone THAT and run
the BiColorize hook on it. (And you thought I forgot all about it).
So, you would have three layers. The background original layer,
above that the lumi layer, and the third layer which is a copy of
the 2nd layer that's been processed by the BiColorize hook.
But a subtle use of tones from an artistic hand still rule the day.
If we stay with image 38 - unaltered and unlayered, and start up
LumiEssence I have a setting: "lumi-38_duotone" which you can use to get
the shadows a bit deeper.
Then start BiColorize and there are two settings: "38_duotoneB"
which is a subtle sepia-look, or "38_duotone" which is a more
psychedelic choice of colors. Ahem.
The LumiEssence hook can also be use to create really cool text
effects. My current favorite is found in my script:
A side note on my scripts: This comes up at the top of my macros to let you choose
to use a buffer that's already open [OKAY] or create a new buffer
[CANCEL] (in case no buffer is open). That way you can, if you wish,
load up the image you are planning on using as the background to test
the font sizes and types or start from scratch.
Load or create a buffer. Don't just use a black buffer, you won't get
the full effect that way. Use an existing picture or a colored
Add a new blank layer
Start the Text hook and pick a nice fat font, then toggle the text
into a brush
Stamp it onto this blank layer, toggle to Region Full, and give it
a good gaussian blur. A nice big number - at least 4 and over if
you are using a Toaster sized buffer with a large text.
Start LumiEssence. Color Mode, toggle Middle, Sliders: 30, 102,
179, 247. This will 'outline' the text. That is it'll make a big
black hole in the center of the text. Cool.
Copy to Alpha
ReliefMap with the 'light' coming from the upper left corner.
Although feel free to change that.
You can change the Blend Modes to whatever effect you prefer. Some
blend modes will make the text look beveled IN the background, some
will make the text pop out. It's amazing how different the text will
look as you work your way through the modes. This effect can be subtle
or very bold. I really like it.
Here's an interesting way to make a title that has a edge which has been
colored by a gradient of colors.
If you use it, the script at this point will ask if you want to create a
new buffer or load a buffer which will be the new Background buffer for
the text. Or, if you had loaded up an image from the beginning and used
that as the Background buffer you can choose that from the
"OriginalBuffer" toggle. The script will copy that buffer to the
new Swap buffer. The script will Flatten the newly made text layers and
pick up the text as a brush. I found this was the easiest way in a
script to get the newly made text to float over a background.
Create a buffer
Load up a palette that would make an interesting pattern. I've
included one I made that's nice golden tones. I put an extra
directory in my 'Storage/Palettes' dir. I call it 'Gradients' and
this is where I store my 'GoldGrad' palette. My script looks for
this directory. I also made a nail file so that when the requestor
pops up I can see what my gradient palettes look like. One of these
days when I feel ambitious I may make nail files for all my
palettes. For now the palettes used for text effect are in my
Once you have my GoldGrad palette loaded in, make sure all 256
colors are open. Access the FloodFill window. Use DiagionalLR or RL
and click in the buffer.
Return to the default palette, select the white color well and
start the Text Hook.
Toggle the text into a brush and stamp the text into a new layer.
The reason you shouldn't toggle the text into a layer is because
that will make the text layer buffer a simple rectangle of color
with only the alpha channel holding the shape of the text
information. This works fine for certain effects, but for the
effect I'm making here I want all the buffers to have all the
font shape information.
Toggle to Full or the remaining processes you do will not be done
on the layer but instead on the brush.
GaussianBlur with a really BIG number. At least '3' or '4'
depending on the type of font (fatter is better) you opted for. Unless
you want a thinner edge, of course. In the script I've left this so the
Gaussian Hook comes up for you to see which amount works best with your
choosen font. Don't blur it so much it destroys the character of the
Start LumiEssence. Use Mode Color, Toggle: Middle and Bright. And
the sliders are: 1, 12, 23, 54
This will Puff the text way OUT. Blow it right up like a pastry.
Ah, I really love this hook.
Copy to Alpha, Swap to Alpha and apply [Color/Negative]. Swap back
to the buffer.
Make a new layer and carefully stamp the text brush (it should
still be floating around) right in the center of the gradient puffy
text. If the edges in this layer look a little rough just do a
simple blur. That should fix it. Plus, the upper (unpuffed) text
does not have to remain a boring white. Play with the Blend Modes
to change whatever you think works.
If you want to use this gradient-edged text over another picture,
just flatten these layers and click on the Scissors to pick
up the whole mess.
If you have another buffer ready just make a [New Layer From
Brush]. Then [Move Layer] around to where you want it over
If you are using IFX3.3 then there's a few things that have to be
done differently since this version will crash if you try to apply
a Negative process on an Alpha channel. I've made a IFX3.3 version of this
script which can be found in the archive.
After running the gaussianblur (STEP 7),
start LumiEssence with the same slider numbers but toggle the
Alpha first. Turn on 'Dark' only.
Now run the hook again this time with Color mode and
Middle/Bright checked on. Essentially, we are having the hook
create the negative alpha channel first then the hook makes the positive
Then, on the new buffer a layer will be created from this brush. Now, I
noticed that when the text layer is transfered, the edges look less than
'antialiased'. In fact they look a bit crappy. So run the LumiEssence
hook over the new text layer to make a new alpha channel. The sliders
should be 1, 50, 145, 254. Toggle 'Alpha', naturally and select Middle
and Bright. The edges should be a bit better but if you want more
aliasing, just add a blur to taste.
Unfortunatly, you can't do a Blur
operation on an Alpha channel in IFX3.3 because it will crash. But at
least the hook will make the edges look better than if nothing is done.
Another reason to upgrade to ver4.1 if you haven't already.
Pick an interesting buffer because now we are going to make the
text like a 'window' - we'll see the background through the edge of
the text. Pick a font that is thick enough to handle this torture.
It doesn't have to be a really FAT font, just not one of those
really thin Kate Moss looking fonts.
Have you noticed I've got this "thing" for font edges? I wonder what
that's all about?
Well, this has been a little taste of the Luny-Lumi and Bi-Wacky fun
that can be had with these hooks. I'm not sure what that sentence meant
but my regular readers must be used to this by now! See you all
Start the Text Hook and pick a font. Make the Text into a brush.
Make a new Layer and stamp the text on it. Toggle to Full Region.
GaussianBlur it with a nice big number.
In the LumiEssence hook use the Alpha Mode. Toggle: Dark and
Bright. And move the sliders to: 51, 102, 153, 204. This will push
the dark tones to the edges and since this is created only in the
Alpha buffer this information is used to identify the transparent
parts of the text.
Make a clone of this layer. Change the Offset numbers to '0'.
Toggle the Blend Mode to Darken. A slightly different look can be
had by making the Offset '-2', '-2'. I made a gradient in the Layer
behind the text so it's obvious that's what you are looking at in my
example. And there you have it!
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