It's easy to turn ordinary photographs-whether portraits, landscapes, or still lifes-into extraordinary photos with the use of added graphic artwork. Graphic Authority offers a wide variety of photo frames, layered templates, backgrounds, and elements (resizable vector graphics) that can be easily paired with your photographs to create special images.
While you can design your own graphical elements, grunge frames, or page layouts, sometimes its just easier to use artwork that's premade. Instead of spending hours of frustration crafting my own frames or page templates, I'd rather use my time more efficiently, as I'm sure many of you would. Browsing through CDs and DVDs of the Graphic Authority effects was much easier than trying to create my own.
The company offers a wide range of effects in collections such as: Photographer's Edge Library, Artistic Expressions, Next Level Senior Style, and others. In addition to the actual files, the company does a really good job of explaining how to use them, including video tutorials, podcasts, and simple-to-follow instructions.
Most of the discs-which are Mac- and PC-compatible-come with a printed catalog of the effects, illustrated with an actual photo and a PDF catalog file, so whether you've loaded all the files onto a computer or are working off the discs, it's easy to browse through the different ones without having to open each to see what's there.
For the final photo, I started with the original image , a NEF (raw) file that had been captured with a Nikon D300 and processed through Nikon Capture NX 2 software. The photo that's next to the original is the Graphic Authority frame as you see it upon opening the file. By putting the layer that says "Your Photo Here," it's practically mistake-proof for the user. If you normally don't do your own post-production work, you might not be as familiar with layers. Most photographers, however, will choose to work on layers to make sure their changes aren't destructive to the original. You can see in the bottom image how the layers are arranged.
Because the effects are layers in a .PSD (Photoshop) file, you can adjust the individual effects, tweaking as little as necessary, or making radical changes. Text can easily be added or deleted, exposure altered, and placement of graphic elements or the original photograph moved around for a more pleasing composition.
Graphic Authority offers collections of digital papers, elements, and effects similar to what digital scrapbookers use; however, their designs are more elegant and sophisticated than most of the digital scrapbooking offerings. The company also offers wedding album page-layout designs as well.
The grunge styles work well with photographs of kids and seniors. I really like the Photographer's Edge Library with its wide variety of frames that mimic the look of films, including Polaroid transfer, film frames with sprocket holes (just like printing in the darkroom with a filed-out, full-frame negative carrier), film strips, 35mm slide, and even 4x5 sheet film.
For more info. on graphic authority, go to www.graphicauthority.com.