Examples of Photoshop Artistic and Brush Stroke Filter Effects

Posted in Humor, Photography Tricks on November 16th, 2009 by MadDog
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This one is going to make you wonder. My primary graphics arts workstation recently turned belly-up and went “pop”. When rebuilding it, I discovered, to my dismay, that I’d lost a few folders because I did not have them clicked for backup. Horrors!  A SYSADMIN lost some files – not supposed to happen. Especially his own files!

There was nothing that I couldn’t easily replace. One of them was a folder of example Photoshop filter effects. I like to keep a folder filled with example filter effects applied to an image with which I’m familiar. Still-life type images work best, because they’re simple and usually have a variety of textures and colours. I wanted one that included a graphics art image and a photograph. I remembered a post that I did a long time ago which included an image that I shot in a gun shop (ironic, eh?). The place was a real loony bin – Don’s Guns in Indianapolis. Here’s the original post and here’s the original image:

The original James Bond Gun image - a Walther P-38I’ll show you a few full-sized image of some of the interesting filters. Here’s one called Plastic Wrap:The Plastic Wrap filter - looks like an evidence bagIt has the creepy effect on this image of making it look as if it’s all tucked away in an evidence bag. “Yeah, Jordan. The gun and the book are all bagged up here for you.”

This one is called Sponge, like in, “Who shot Sponge Bob Squarepants?” Look, it’s got his blood all over it.

The Walther with the Sponge filter appliedExcept it should be yellow, I suppose.

This one is Rought Trade. No, wait! I got that wrong. It’s Rough Pastels.  Big difference!

The Walther with the Rough Pastels filter

Looks like a very useful filter for fruits. I remember eating a watermelon once (not the whole thing) which had been carefully injected over a period of a week with a fifth of vodka. Everything looked pretty much like the image above. It’s not an excercise that I recommend unless you have your sweet tooth well under supervision.

Anyway, here is a gallery some more of the more useful Artistic and Brush Stroke filters applied to the image:

I had to trade off my Walther P-38 for an Indian Arms piece in stainless steel. The Walther rusted like a pig. I was forever cleaning it.

I don’t have a gun any more. I carry my trusty Canon G9 in my holster on my belt. I figure that, if I absolutely must, I can club a guy unconscious with it and then take his picture.

It’s that tough!

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More Wedding Pics – Trevor and Karen

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 15th, 2009 by MadDog
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I have a few less formal shots from the wedding of Trevor Hattersley and Karen Simmons last Saturday. I had a great time. I love weddings. I’ve performed marriages for sixteen couples since I became a Registered Celebrant ten years or so ago. As far as I know, all but one couple are still together. That’s a pretty good record, but I can’t make any claim on it. Finding a mate is a crap-shoot.

We had a batch of Champagne that was inordinately difficult to open. Here’s our Master of Ceremonies, Mike Cassell doing his “Power Opening” trick for the ladies:

Master of Ceremonies Mike Cassell
They were most appreciative. By the way, the new construction at Blueblood isn’t quite finished, as you can see. The broom is for cleaning up broken wine glasses, of which there were quite a few.

Here’s Trevor looking very relaxed, compared to an hour earlier, as he toasts his bride, Karen:

A toasting Trevor Hattersley

You may have noticed that the dress code at the wedding was “Tropical Whatever”.

And here is Trevor as we all know him – doing something iffy with a lady. His iffy somethings are now going to be limited to a single recipient. Lucky guy!Trevor doing something strange with Karen

The winner of the Spiffy Gentleman’s Outfit  prize went to Charlie Edmund who, while tardy in arrival, was resplendent in attire:

Charlie Edmund

Did you ever see a necktie glow like that? I think that he’s making some kind of point here in this image. That would be very much in character.

This is a sight which several people claimed had never before been seen – our very own charming and oh, so cherished Dr. John “Tinpis” Mackerel in the ocean!Dr. John "Tinpis" Mackerel in the drink

And here are two fools, whose identity I will conceal out of pure mercy, attempting to stand up on a sailboard:Two fools trying to stand on a sailboard

Never let it be said that this was not a joyous day for all.

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Spider Day!

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 14th, 2009 by MadDog
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This morning started out with a mind-blowing sunrise. The sun is actually rising up over on the right side of the shot, just to the left of Faded Glory.  However, there was a huge cumulonimbus cloud thumping with lightning flashes over in the northwest. This shot covers nearly 180°. The glow in the cloud is not from the lightning in the thunderstorm, but from the reddish light from the rising sun. This is one of the more unusual sunrises that I’ve seen. It certainly started my day nicely:A mind-blowing sunrise - Nice job, God!
It’s worth a click on the shot above to see it full sized. I even caught a few birds flying around over the harbour.

I had a little walkabout in my garden. Yesterday, I showed you this little green spider hiding from me. Here it is waiting on a flower for a tasty insectoid aviator to land nearby:Little green spider threatening me

It has noticed me fooling around near his territory and attempts a bluff to scare me off.

It didn’t work. I didn’t go away. So, he did one of those, “Hey you! You lookin’ at me? You want trouble? I got yer trouble buddy!”:

Now he's getting very pugnacious
It still didn’t work. I took its picture anyway. The spider was humiliated and retreated to a greener place to sulk in camouflaged silence.

Now this is a spider to be reckoned with. I did no teasing here. I stood back respectfully, flicked my flash on and coaxed in a little telephoto:Big juicy spiderThat is a shot of his underside. Notice the “fake-out stripe”.

Here’s a better shot of the spider sitting in the middle of his metre-wide web. I know little about spiders, but I’m pretty sure that the white webby stuff is what I think of as a “fake-out stripe” I think that it’s supposed to fool insects into thinking that there’s no spider there at all – it’s just a funny looking stick or something – no danger here:Spider with a 'fake out stripe' in its web

Well, that’s enough Araneae  for today. I don’t want to creep anybody out.

I’m tossing in a variation of a sunrise that I did a day or two ago. I like the colours better on this one:A variation on a previous sunriseYou can’t improve  on nature’s beauty, but you can interpret  it.

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GEEKY SUBJECT WARNING – Testing WP2Flickr

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 13th, 2009 by MadDog
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A lot of web journalists (okay, bloggers – I hate that word) put their images on Flickr and then use special software (WordPress ‘plugins’) to bring the images into their posts. This is fine if your work flow is Flickr-centric. I work the other way around. My WordPress daily journal is the centre of my social web experience. I link my daily posts to my Facebook account to kill two birds with one stone. Those who wouldn’t normally visit my journal daily, but are Facebook friends, see what I’m up to (and the other way around) and can have a look at the journal entry if they like.

I’d like to do the same with Flickr. I wanted a plugin that would send my journal images to my Flickr account (Flickr name: Boogies With Fish) so that friends who know me from Flickr can see my images and possibly visit my journal to see what I had to say about them.

I got a comment this morning in response to my plea for a plugin from my fellow PNG web journalist Robert at TrupelaTok with a suggestion. So, I’m trying it out with this messy desk image:

My messy office

Let’s see if it works.

UPDATE: Hey, it does work. Check this out!

Thanks, Robert.

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A Little Nature Walk in My Garden

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 13th, 2009 by MadDog
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I like to start off every day with a sunrise. Considering my proclivity for this, I must be the luckiest guy in the world. During most of the year, at least one day out of two will provide fodder for my famished camera. Some days are better than others, but every day is different.  This is part of my thinking time for the day. I usually get fifteen to thirty minutes to contemplate the newness of the day and what it might bring:

Weird orange glow sunrise

Then I have a little walk around my garden to see who’s awake and what they’re doing.

In the same bush in which I found a beautiful green lizard the other day, I spotted this tiny bug hiding under a leaf. The sun was shining through the leaf and making the little fellow glow. I tried to get the shot without flash, but there simply wasn’t enough light:

Some kind of little bug in my bush

The little guy is only about a centimetre long.

Over at the Bird of Paradise plants I found a similar sized spider. It kept trying to move around on the other side of the curled-up leaf to hide, but finally tired of that and submitted to my photographic zeal:

Itsy-bitsy Spider

The shot really appeals to me compositionally. Its simplicity is powerful. Getting one or two shots a day such as this one, which really pleases me, lifts me right off the ground. Photography is a powerful emotional stimulant for me. I must be neurotic. No, wait. Of course  I’m neurotic!

This spider is vainly attempting to hide from me. He nearly pulled it off, except that I saw it moving down from the flower on which it was waiting for a meal. You’ll see more of this little spider tomorrow:

Camoflaged spider trying to hide from me

I’ve featured this lovely green spider before here.

I never know which orchids in the garden are going to bloom next. The blooms last for an incredibly long time compared to most flowers, sometimes for a couple of weeks. I know absolutely nothing about orchids and I’m happy to allow them to be a mystery to me. I overanalyze the underwater world and pretend to be an expert. I think that it’s nice to appreciate some things without knowing everything about them. It leaves room for awe and wonder:

Orchids in my garden

The sun was coming in from the back of these blossoms. I turned my flash on to give a little fill light in the dark areas to punch up the colour. I’m quite happy with the shot.

The best thing about walking around in my garden with my camera is that, if I wake up the next morning, I know that something like this will be waiting for me.

"Blows My Mind" sunrise

Lucky? Blessed?

You choose.

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The Panorama Techniques or Bore Me To Tears

Posted in Photography Tricks on November 12th, 2009 by MadDog
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I’m not sure why I suddenly got the idea that somebody out there might be interested in this. My brain works, when it works, in mysterious ways.

I did a two-frame exposure with my Canon G0 a couple of days ago of a mediocre sunrise. As I was stitching it together and going through the process of determining if it was worth keeping, I began to think of the steps as a sort of dance with the pixels (don’t ask). So, from that demented state, this post was born.

Let’s start at the beginning. Well, not really at the beginning. We’ll start with the image that Photoshop coughs up after you load the two frames into its Photomerge feature. Here’s what you get if you are lucky and you’ve held the camera straight and overlapped the two shots correctly. It helps to have a “Panorama” setting on your camera, because it will set the exposure on the first frame and then keep it the same for each subsequent exposure. Otherwise, you might have to set your camera on manual or use an exposure lock feature, if you can find it. Anyway, here’s the starting point for our purpose:

The two-frame panorama as stitched together by Photoshop

As you can see, Photoshop had to do some fancy footwork to make the two frames blend together as if they were a single exposure. That’s why the shape is funny. If you’re doing more that two frames, it can get a little crazy. That’s why it’s always best to shoot several sequences of the same panorama. Hopefully, one of the sequences will come out more or less straight, indicating that you were holding the camera in a consistent way and lining the shots up correctly.

You can see in the shot above that the horizon bulges down a little and is slightly tilted. We use the controls in the Filter | Distort | Lens Correction feature of Photoshop to fix these problems:After straightening the curved horizon

Now we have a nice straight and level horizon, but the image is squeezed in at the bottom. If we don’t fix this, we’ll lose part of the sky when we crop it to a rectangle.

We use the same filter as before, except we use a different control to pull the bottom of the image out toward us. You can think of it as if you were looking at the image on a canvas and you tilted the top of the canvas back away from you. Now the image is more or less rectangular. We can get away with this in this image because we have no obvious lines that must be kept vertical or horizontal, except for the horizon, which we’ve already fixed:Stretching the bottom to make the image more rectangular

These controls are very handy for images that contain architecture. You can fix those buildings that look as if they are leaning back away from you.

Now, we crop (trim) the image so that looks compositionally correct. On this image it is a no-brainer. If we were dealing with other images we might want to think of the Rule of Thirds. Here, however, we just need to grab as much detail as we can:Cropping the image to the area of interest

Notice that, because I did not want to lose any of the detail high in the sky, I had to cheat on the crop a lttle at the upper corners. That’s no problem. We can use the Clone Stamp tool in Photoshop to pick up bits from one place in the image and blend it in somewhere else. This is one of the coolest things since sliced bread.

It this image you can see that I filled in the missing areas:Cloning in the missing bitsWe still have the problem of the boat intruding on the image, but we can fix that also by cloning some of the water near the boat to cover it up.

Now the boat is gone and all that is needed is to adjust the final colours:

Cloning the boat out and adjusting the final coloursThe whole job took about ten minutes. That’s far less time that it took to tell you how I did it.

If you like photography and you want to look like a pro, learn to use Photoshop. It’s the easiest fake-out job on the planet.

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A Mystery Image and a Green Lizard

Posted in Mixed Nuts on November 11th, 2009 by MadDog
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This morning the sunrise was distinctly unpromising. Being ever the optimist, I waddled out to the stern of Faded Glory and snapped a shot. I had to set my Canon G9 on manual and stop the lens down to f8 and shoot at 1/4000 for a shutter speed at ISO 80 to keep from blasting a hole through the camera:

Alien Sunrise

UPDATE: Okay, okay, that’s just too, too horrible. Let me give it another try:

Alien Sunrise (second try)

Wasn’t that interesting? Well, I went into all that blather for the photo geeks out there who will understand that, under those conditions, there’s precious little colour and luminance information left anywhere in the shot except near the sun. That’s the price we pay for being cheap. A $4,000 camera would do much better, but I don’t have that kind of money and probably wouldn’t spend it on a camera if I did. (I lie! If I were rich I’d have the best cameras on the planet.)

Anyway, all that is in the way of an apology for the excruciating, but somehow numbingly weird colours in the shot. I fiddled and fiddled and finally changed the title. That’s what photographers (and writers) do when a project fails miserably. I’m calling it Alien Sunrise.

There’s no mystery about this image. It’s clearly a lizard – a lizard frozen in terror. It’s desperately attempting to appear to be a part of the bush. I had a devil of a time getting this shot. In the wild, these things are masters of hide-and-seek unlike a squirrel:Green Lizard hiding in my bushesBy holding my camera out at far from my body as possible and sticking it into the bush very slowly I managed to get off one good shot. I’d call this the luck one of the day.

UPDATE: a Facebook friend, Robert Sprackland (Ph.D., Zoology — Herpetology, Systematics — Evolution, Biogeography — Biodiscovery), a guy who knows his slithery critters, passed this information on to me: “It’s a New Guinea endemic, a green-blooded skink, genus Prasinohaema (Greek for – SURPRISE! – “green blooded.”) Can’t be sure of species from a single photo, but best guess is the yellow-footed green-blooded skink (lordy, that sounds colourful!), Prasinohaema flavipes. Thanks for that, Robert. I had no idea that I’d captured such an exotic little beastie.

Now for the Mystery Object. Tropical residents will have a better shot at guessing this:Mystery image - view 1Didn’t get it?

How about this:Mystery image - view 2Okay, I bet a lot of people are guessing some kind of wood. And right you are.

A coconut tree in our front yard was hit by lightning this year and killed. Part of it had already fallen and smashed the bow of Faded Glory. So, a few weeks ago, I had some guys come in to chop the rest of it down. As I was walking past this morning I noticed that some weird combination of tropical rot and last night’s rain, along with the warm rays of the rising sun, had made it glow bright red:

Mystery image - It's a coconuty treeSorry for the cheap shot.

I’ll make amends with this lovely hibiscus:HibiscusAs you can see, the sun is coming in from the back. I like this lighting with flowers. It makes the petals seem to glow with a light of their own.

If you click the hibiscus to enlarge it you will see one lonely little ant down in the left side of the dark centre area.

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