Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Blog

I've pondered for a long time on starting a new blog. Seems a little silly considering no one reads the first one. My interest in photoshop has been waning the past year as my renewed interest in sewing and needle arts has breathed new life.  I had to consider that it could veer off again in any direction, so I didn't want a strictly needle art blog.  It seemed more reasonable to keep it labeled "creative" something.  Since so much of LIFE interferes with so much of my creative urges, I named it "creative spurts and trickles".  Maybe I keep this one for photoshop tutorials, maybe not.  But I'd like to do some sewing tutorials and discussion and it doesn't fit here.  So, I'm going there.  I haven't got any design yet, but some stuff I can do better here at my pc, and some stuff from my laptop at work (where I have large chunks of time that I need to devote strictly to staying awake in anyway quietly possible).

Time for some "life" stuff........ewwwww, laundry.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Video Editing

GRRRRRR! I can't get the blogger tool to let me upload from my pc today!!!

Was September really my last entry?  Wish I could brag about being busy with lots of exciting stuff, but I can't.  I am still forging ahead with my sewing renaisance, albeit slowly.  It's ok, I'm 52, I can do ANYTHING as slow as I want now :).  I knew I'd finally start growing into this stage of human development, the "mature" stage.  Anyway......

Yesteday I started working on some video.  For years my cameras and phones have had the ability to take video and they are getting better and better.  I knew the day would come when I'd have to start dabbling in editing some of that.  The day finally got here.  I had about 8 clips of babies running around in my house that I wanted to put together in some kind of pleasing manner.  A short, easy project, the equivalent of a potholder as a first sewing project, a cake mix for a novice in the kitchen.

First I looked to see what programs I might already have to help out.  Elements would let me download premier for 30 free days, but I had no intention of buying it. I didn't want to try it and like it.   I run widows vista on my home pc and windows 7 on my laptop, both had a windows movie maker.  I also searched online and found a free for home use program called VideoPad from NCH.

I started with the windows movie maker that came with Vista.  Getting the short videos clipped together with nice transitions was easy.  I did one on the home machine, and then another later on my laptop,  The 7 edition also had a nice effect choice of pan and zoom auto movie mode that really worked nice with my amature shooting skills.  When I got home and discovered that feature wasn't on the vista version, I tried to import the newer film onto the older program, no dice.  Then when I asked the windows movie viewer to play the newer video, it really all blew up. I had to run system restore to go back into either the maker or viewer on that machine. 

When I got to adding an audio clip (a nice, sappy Tim McGraaw, My little girl) the hands down winner was Video Pad.  I didn't want to eliminate the audio from the original clips, lots of baby voices and parents and grandparent, dog yipping- but I wanted the sappy song to be the major audio component.  Video pad had a much better audio editor.

I'm scared to post the result. I don't want Tim McGraaw coming after me for republishing his song.  I paid my 99c on Amazon for it, but I believe that only covered personal use.

POST NOTE:  I finally got the editor to let me upload from Picassa, not my computer.  The pic was edited in photoshop elements for cropping, some cloning out distracting background, and a quick fix of saturation/exposure, etc.  Then I took it to camera bag and applied the "light leak" effect and framed it in white, duh, doesn't show on this page!  The pants were sewn by me from a lovely pattern from Made by Rae, her big butt baby pants.  LOOOOVVVE this pattern.  My sewing itch has been so scratched by the wealth of motivators online that I'm going to have to start another blog soon.  I'm sewing and excited about it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Such pretty babies

Completed edit with PSE, Camerabag, and PSE

Camerabag's "vibrant poolside" filter on top of PSE

PSE guassian blur to messy background

original photo

hardly need editing, but there's that messy background and the exposure could use a little tweeking.  The bottom photo is as it was shot.  The next one up has the background blurred with photoshop elements to make the babies more of a focal point.  The second from the top was hit with a filter from the camera bag ap called "vibrant poolside".  I then used the camera bag image as a layer on top of the edited PSE layer back in the elements application, masked out the camera bag filter that was blowing out the baby's face in the foreground and added a little warming filter to her face instead. 

I'm still working at restorations for Operation Photo Rescue, but since these photos belong to other persons I am not allowed to show any of those projects.  Slow, tedious work but it's very gratifying to see a photo that has significant damage brought back to like new- as close as I can get it anyway.  I'm sure I'm building on my skills doing this.  I just wonder if by the time I get very expert will I be seriously loosing my sight from staring so hard at small areas on the computer screen.  I try to look away frequently and focus on something as distant as I can (at night in my patent's rooms I might not have very far indeed, but still OFF the screen for a moment).

I spend a lot of time reading many blogs, and it sure seems to me that everyone in the world is more productive than I am.  I especially like the sewing blogs, for inspiration.  I guess there was a time when I cranked it out like that.  The school is starting sewing marathons I used to do!!  I try to be gentle with myself if I start feeling like "less" because of the wealth of creativity some of these women manifest into real objects, and gentle with my thoughts of some of them when I start envying thier lives with a contributing spouse and money for dream machines and studios.  I don't think I'd have the sustained sewing revival I've got going on without the wonderful world of blogs.  I love looking at what they are all making and then diving in with some projects of my own.  I like how most of sewing seems to be simpler than back in the day.  The Haute couture, tailored, and hierloom techniques are still out there being learned and perfected but the wealth of fast and easy sewing makes it much more likely that I'll start and finish a project.

I've got a lunch date Tuesday, and I'm taking my camera.  Maybe I'll spark up the blaze under my photography fire.

Monday, July 30, 2012

I don't know the couple above.  I liked watching them, and it's pretty pleasant to look at the photo and daydream about their lives, with a wealth of history.  I know it's fiction, maybe this is their second and forth marriages, but I get a sweet little Lifetime channel movie picture of them when I look at this.  I've been disturbed by several news stories I've read in the past 24 hours or so, so it's particularly soothing to have this love endures feeling when I look at them. 

The altered photo seems a more accurate depiction of what I was seeing with my eyes as I lay on the beach that day, blissfully cooled and heated by ocean and sand.  Similar to how the storyline I created in my head might be actually more real than say a print out of facts of their life provided by the social security administration.  Reality is whatever your perception of it is.  I borrowed that line from a sign in a nursing home I used to work in.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Photo editing has improved my photography skills

I am finding more and more frequently that I take photos like the one on top, that needed virtually no retouching.  I liked banding it in black, to make the colors pop a little, but it didn't need exposure or color tweeking, and I liked the composition.  Also, I've gotten less reluctant over the past decade with digital photos to be conservative.  I shoot lots and lots of shots, so I keep the best and throw out the worst without worry.  Occasionally I still use photoshop elements to improve the basic flaws in a photo as I did with photo 3 from 2.  I blurred out a messy background, sharpened the face a little and did a color correction before cropping it down to a more focused subject area.  I couldn't do much with the motion blur.

I was REALLY BAD at taking photos when I bought my first digital camera and started playing with edits.  My subject was usually out of focus and had parts cut off (usually the top of the head, but I could miss other pieces) and I ALWAYS caught my subjects with their eyes closed, mouths gaping, and leaving the frame.  If there was a mess or flaw in the background, I'd have it in the picture.  If not, I could always insert a finger.

The more I edited, the better I got at fixing some of those things, switching out heads and backgrounds if needed along with sharpening and blurring and color and exposure, and then, joy, joy,  cosmetic touches.  Along with the skills in altering, I must have got into the awareness of them as I composed and shot as well, I just don't do as many of those terrible things as I used to.  I was starting to become kind of fond of my dead on capture of the just missed shot, but I can still do that quite well :).

I saw a post the other day about challenging yourself by shooting some film, but it may be another two decades or so before I'm ready for that, if ever.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Joy of CameraBag

I keep talking about this program, and here's a little illustration why.  I touched up a couple blemishes first on photoshop elements first, because camerabag won't do that (though it will crop, straighten, etc.)  But after 90 seconds or so of quick touchup, I loaded it into camerabag and had thumbnails the size of the small images above in over 100 choices.  What fun!  If you've seen "actions" for sale, you can see why I guess that's pretty much what this program is doing.  Saved sets of color and exposure settings all ready for viewing and picking your favorite treatment.  You can do batches too, and apply a filter to a series of photos to get the same effect on a whole shoot.  If you just are not satisfied with any of the choices they give you, you can tweak further, and name and save THAT for future use.  Wow.

The model is my eldest daughter, a product of the myspace (I KNOW no one is there anymore, but that's where it started) school of photography.  This generation is so comfortable with having their picture shot anywhere, anytime.  They know exactly what the pose will look like, cause they've seen it 6,000 times already.  Whereas my generation still stiffens up and grimaces a little bit more often than not.  Still, this group is so self conscious about how they look.  Make up and fake nails and hair (!), colored contacts and surgeries, to look how they think they should (not saying the model above has any is sporting any of that).  It leaves me so baffled about one thing- I started editing a few years back and thought they'd all want me to "fix" and touch up every photo.  They DON'T!  They post them all up there on facebook uncut and as is.  Maybe after all the "in person" retouching they believe they should be rated on how well they put it together before the picture was snapped? 

I don't know, but every shot I put up has a little weight loss and skin smoothing going on, sometimes even the makeup is after.  I keep it me, just better, like meeting me in a nicely lighted bar after a few drinks. 

I'm hoping the kids like this program.  I haven't heard from miss thing up there what she thought about these retouches.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tutorial on Elements organizer

I was updating my organizer and decided this would be a good tutorial to do for the beginner to photoshop elements.  When I first got the program (version 5 or something way back) I started with albums.  Soon it seemed to be more busy work than anything helpful, the images are already in albums of sorts as they are uploaded into my files on the computer.  But tagging them! This way I can add a short description, or several short descriptions to reference and cross reference any image any way I choose.  There is no limit to the descriptions that you can put on a photo, and when you click on that tag, only photos with that description show thumbnails.  I don't have to remember what folder a photo is in, I can find ONLY pics of my oldest son, or only pics of him at home, or only pictures of barns as long as I've made that tag and tagged the images. 

The tags have even stayed with the images through my three upgrades to newer versions, though of course I've added more as time went on.  I started with a few broad categories and have added more categories and sub-categories.  Now even on early onset senility days I can pretty much find whatever I'm looking for fast, even if I don't have a specific image in mind. 

I've been playing mostly with the camerabag2 program (when not sewing or walking for hip health or SLEEPING (why does it seem like I sleep more doing night shift when I know I sleep less?  More PURSUIT of sleep, I think).  Even when all sucked up into the new fun of camerabag I still find myself going to the organizer in Elements.  I always wait for sales, but I swear this program is worth every penny I've paid for it.  If you've got it, learn to squeeze out all of the benefits, and the photo tags are a big benefit!

The tutorial is here .  Sure is weird hearing myself, working on sounding better, but my mind stutters!!!