A few weeks ago I was approached by the team at Greater Than Gatsby to review a set of their actions. I was so excited for the opportunity and chose to experiment with the Carving Tree collection of actions. I had a hard time deciding which to choose as there was an element within each set of their actions that I thought would be helpful to my workflow or unique to try out. Ultimately, it was the collection of ‘Bob Ross’ background brushes’ in the Carving Tree collection that made my decision for me. Before using anything in this collection, I could tell it was going to be a steal for the price they had it listed at. There are so many every-day actions and brushes in this collection that make it valuable but then you add in all of the creative elements and you’ll quickly realize just how much you’re getting for your money. There are even actions to resize your images for social media; they’ve truly thought of everything when creating this well-rounded collection.
I’ve been using this collection alongside my standard editing workflow for a few weeks now and have definitely found my favorites in the pack. I absolutely love the ‘Rich Edit Color Base’ action. I tend to dial it back to around 15-30% and love the way it just finishes off images that needed an extra ‘something’. Also, the sunrise/sunset are brilliant! Out here in Saskatchewan, we’re known for our “living skies” and prairie sunsets. It’s not uncommon to see the sky moving through colors you would think were only possible in sherbet. Being a natural light photographer and more often than not back-lighting my clients sometimes I’ll loose a bit of that beautiful color in back-lit portraits and these brushes help bring it back! I’ve also been having a lot of fun with the movable sunlight bursts. They’re easy to use, look real, and you have complete control over the position and opacity. I’ve tried sunburst overlays before, but honestly, these are by far the best sunbursts I’ve ever worked with solely for their ease of use and variety in light color.
I’ve edited a few images using actions from this collection. I’ll include all of the details for the edits I used below each image. For each set of images, the image on the LEFT is from before any Greater Than Gatsby actions were used and the image on the RIGHT is the ‘after’ shot. I’m more than happy to do any additional edits for anyone who is curious about a specific action or brush from this collection too so please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any requests or questions you might have and I can add them to this post!
For this image, I LOVE the colors in the original, we were shooting under a full moon and it was such a beautiful night on the beach. However, I do feel this shot can support a dramatic black and white edit too so I tried it out. Here’s what I used on this shot…
Cinematic Color Base dialed down to 50%
Film Noir – with the vignette down to 50%
I loved the little bit of sunset peaking through the top of this image but I wanted it to be a bit more noticeable and dramatic. For this shot I did the following edits…
Rich Edit Color Base – turned down to 35%
Iris Sparkle and Whiten Eye Whites – with my brush set to 30%
Champagne – at 20%
Soft Golden Burst – at 25% right on top of the true light leak at the top
Soft Orange Light – lightly painted on the light leak
I love that the actions I used for this shot allowed me to get some of ‘feel’ of this image back into the shot. It was hot, dirty, and dusty in this room. I feel the second edit really shows that ‘feeling’ more than the original. For this photo I used the following…
Dramatic Color Base – turned down to 40%
Iced Tea – turned down to 20%
Dark Rust Forest – turned down to 20% (this action really made the biggest difference on this shot, I love what it added to the image)
For this image I used the following…
Cinematic Color Base – at full strength
Flat Dry Matte – turned down to 20%
Sheer Frosting – turned down to 20%
This image is exactly what I meant when I lost some of the color in the sky when back-lighting. It’s not entirely gone in the first image, but the actions really help enhance what was there and brings it back to how it truly looked and felt that evening. For this image I used the following…
Clean Edit Color Base – at 40%
Dark Indigo Forest – at 10%
Sheer Frosting – at 10%
Warm Image – at 10% (I really like the tones of the warmth in this action!)
I also used the Soft Pink Light Brush and Soft Orange Light Brush at 10% opacity to paint a bit of color back into the sky/clouds
For this image I used the following…
Rich Edit Color Base – at 30%
And then to bring a bit of depth back to the sky I used the Blue Sky Enhance – at 10% and Blue/Grey Cloud Sky – at 10%
I hope you enjoyed this review and the before/after photos! If you have any questions about any of the actions from this collections, please do not hesitate ask!